Not since 2009 have Newcastle been in the top four this far into an NRL season, but plenty of improvement is needed, according to coach Adam O'Brien.
Just 10 games into his tenure, O'Brien has done what fans begged of him - turned the Knights into a gritty team that won't give up on the fight.
After escaping with a two-point win over South Sydney despite leading at 20-0 midway through the second half, O'Brien said it was hard to knock his side.
It was an ugly win, but it delivered them to the top four.
"I don't know where their ceiling is or where they're going to get to but I know they're going to fight hard," he said on Saturday night.
"That's what they've done all year and that's what the town wanted at the start.
"A tough, gritty team that fought in the last 10 minutes and that's what they've got.
"I think a few people expect us to win 40-0, but we still need to be that tough, gritty defensive team."
O'Brien's comments come in response to growing criticism of the Knights' attack, which culminated in club legend and premiership winning captain Andrew Johns taking aim at star fullback Kalyn Ponga.
Johns accused Ponga of not 'evolving', saying the team's attack had gone stale in recent weeks as they lost two of their previous three games.
On Saturday he scored his first try since round four, and set up another in a brilliant performance with the ball and a solid defensive show without it.
The Knights also welcomed back Mitch Barnett and Connor Watson on Saturday after long lay-offs in what has been a difficult few months for the side.
"The players have done a really, really good job," O'Brien said.
"This has been tough.
"I haven't given them an excuse and I've refused to talk about it but the travel down here in the first eight weeks and throw in a trip to a 3 o'clock game in Townsville, they've done a really good job to get us into fourth spot whether the attack is humming or not.
"There's definitely more improvement in us.
"We've been together for 10 weeks now and of those ten weeks we've probably had six out for the majority of the time.
"Combinations will get better, connections defensively. We've got more in us yet."