Lee stars in Knights' win over Sharks

Edrick Lee went from hero to zero to hero in a matter of minutes to spark Newcastle to a controversy-filled 14-8 NRL win over Cronulla at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Playing in his first game for the Knights, the ex-Sharks winger figured in almost all of his side's key moments on as Nathan Brown's men began their new era with a hard-fought win on Friday.

The competition's former whipping boys proved they're ready to take the next step after downing bogey side Cronulla, who had won their last eight match ups - including a 62-0 flogging three years ago.

In 2017 Sharks skipper Paul Gallen memorably criticised Mitchell Pearce's decision to reject an offer from Cronulla to sign with Newcastle.

He said he feared it would be the end of Pearce's representative career and the Knights wouldn't be title contenders for a "long, long time".

Brown said he remembered Gallen's words and hoped his side had changed his mind about their premiership bona fides.

"They've given it to us in the middle of the field (in the past), they've got good experienced players there," Brown said.

"They've physically been better than us but tonight I would think their impression of us would be a little bit different than what it it used to be."

It took 69 minutes for the game to come to life before Tim Glasby surged through a gaping hole off a Mitchell Pearce short-ball to give the home side an 8-2 advantage.

But just when the 21,813-strong crowd thought their side had it in the bag, Sione Katoa was sensationally awarded a penalty try to lock up the scores with eight minutes remaining after Lee was ruled to have taken him out.

However, Lee turned the game on its head once again three minutes later when he latched on to a Chad Townsend pass and ran 85 metres to seal a win which raises hopes of the Knights eventually making the top eight after five years in the wilderness.

All of the Knights' news faces stood out with prop David Klemmer running for 186m from 20 carries and making 25 tackles.

But Kalyn Ponga had a mediocre night in his first performance in the No. 6 jumper, often looking devoid of ideas and taking several poor kicking options.

After the scores were tied 2-2 early in the second-half, the Sharks were ill-disciplined and it cost them in the wash up.

"You can't expect to win any game of footy making 12 errors, we completed at about 65 percent," lamented new Sharks coach John Morris.

"It was a focus going into the game, we spoke about it all week, hang on to the footy and play simple."

In a concern for the Knights, prop Daniel Saifiti was taken for scans after suffering a suspected MCL injury.