Seven minutes in, the Newcastle Knights had already lost two of their key players.
Already entering the match against the Penrith Panthers without Kalyn Ponga, much of the creativity for the team was set to fall on the shoulders of captain Mitchell Pearce.
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But just four an a half minutes into the game, Pearce was steamrolled by Stephen Crichton before hooker Connor Watson went down with an ankle injury.
Just before half-time, it was 14-0 but a try from prop Daniel Saifiti on the buzzer gave Newcastle some hope.
And it appeared to be all they needed.
While the Panthers peppered them throughout the second half and dominated plenty of possession, the Knights scored two tries through centre Bradman Best, locking the game up with 10 minutes to go at 14-all.
It was an unbelievable comeback and the commentators were left stunned.
“This is incredible,” Fox Sports’ Michael Ennis said.
It was a long way for the Knights to come after Pearce went low in the tackle and caught the hip of Crichton, falling heavily and being left dazed.
“What an enormous blow for Newcastle, their superstar halfback has been left unconscious on the ground,” Michael Ennis said on Fox Sports.
Pearce had a cut on his cheek and was helped from the field.
But it wasn’t going to end there with Connor Watson, who swapped into halfback from hooker to cover Pearce, went down with an ankle injury just three minutes later.
While he limped back into the line, Watson didn’t last too long before coming from the field.
“This is a disaster for Newcastle,” Matthew Thompson said on Channel 9’s coverage.
“This is the worst possible start for Newcastle,” Peter Sterling agreed.
NRL Physio Brien Seeney said Watson was done for the day with a syndesmosis injury.
Out to the 21st minute, Tim Glasby also went from the field after copping an elbow after getting in an awkward position.
With the Knights dropping like flies, the Panthers finally pounced, scoring back to back tries to lead 14-0 after 25 minutes.
It came after the second try to Kurt Capewell saw an eight-point try as Knights winger Edrick Lee lashed out with the foot as the Panthers forward scored.
It also lead to the first good news for the Knights with Glasby allowed back on the field after his head injury assessment.
And it got better from there with Daniel Saifiti scoring just before the break to be down 14-6 at the break.