Newcastle Knights smash Dragons in finals warm-up

Makenzie Weale of the Knights runs the ball against the Dragons. Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

In the final game of the regular season, Newcastle defeated St George Illawarra 30-8 to take a mental edge into next week's semi-final between the two sides.

The Knights and Dragons went blow for blow before Newcastle winger Jessica Gentle slid over on debut, the beneficiary of a Jesse Southwell cut-out pass just before the break.

Newcastle tightened their control of possession in the second half, holding their opponents scoreless and extending their slim advantage into a decisive victory.

"We probably just didn't aim up defensively," Dragons coach Jamie Soward said.

"But in saying that, the club has reached another semi-final.

"I'm really proud of that."

The win continued a stunning turnaround for the Knights, who failed to win a game in their first campaign but finished their second as runners-up in the minor premiership.