Four tries from Akuila Uate helped Newcastle claim eighth place on the NRL ladder despite a second half fright in their 40-24 win over South Sydney at Ausgrid Stadium on Friday night.
The NSW winger bagged two as the Knights piled on a 30-6 halftime lead and doubled his tally with trademark devastating runs to the line to help his side into the playoffs beginning next weekend.
In the process he equalled the club record for tries in a single match.
The virtual elimination final was one of the most anticipated games of the year, but it took Souths until well into the second half to wake up and make the ground record 30,729 fans nervous at 10 points behind with seven minutes left.
Newcastle snapped a worrying late season three-match losing streak to ensure coach Rick Stone enjoys a finals experience before becoming Wayne Bennett's assistant next season.