The North Sydney Bears have snuck home 18-16 over the Newcastle Knights in a tense showdown at North Sydney Oval.

Warm sunshine and a light breeze greeted both sides as the home side celebrated Old Boys' day with a number of former players in attendance.

The Bears enjoyed a 16-4 lead at the break but the Knights dominated much of the second half to draw level late on, before an Eli Levido penalty goal in the 80th minute sealed the game.

The teams got through their opening sets error-free in a game of huge importance in the context of their respective seasons.

The Bears had an early sniff at the Knights' line but some solid defence forced centre Ed Murphy over the touchline, and the visitors had an early chance of their own minutes later.

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