In his return match from an ACL injury, Newcastle centre Krystian Mapapalangi was devastatingly knocked out while making a tackle on the opening play of the match.

Jack Cogger made an impactful return for Newcastle, while Will Pryce, an English import and the son of Leon Pryce, added to the team's selection dilemmas for Knights coach Adam O'Brien.

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With the likely halves pairing of Tyson Gamble and Jackson Hastings to start season 2024, they did their chances of unseating one or both no harm.

Cogger, who started his NRL career in Newcastle eight seasons ago, came off the bench in the first half and immediately made a mark on the game with a 40/20 kick. He finished the game with a try, 83 run metres and three conversions from three attempts.

In other news from the game, Tom Hazelton was sin-binned in the 50th minute with a sickening, late head-high tackle.

Despite enjoying an early lead, the Sharks eventually fell to the Knights 44-18.