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Finals-bound Newcastle Knights smash St George Illawarra Dragons

There are just 80 minutes left in St George Illawarra's NRL season and it can't come quick enough for the team who coach Dean Young says wouldn't have beaten Dapto on Sunday.

A loud 'New-ca-stle' chant rang around McDonald Jones Stadium as the finals-bound Knights romped to a 42-18 win in their last home game of the year.

Four errors in the first half had the Knights up 24-0 after just 25 minutes, including woeful kicks out on the full and two knock ons from the kick off.

Filthy after the loss, Young said he did not see such a sorry performance coming.

"We've been losing for two years now so the belief is certainly not there that we can go out and beat the top sides, but effort can be a lot better across the board," he said.

"We wouldn't have beaten Dapto the way we played that first half. It was just under eights stuff."

Leading 30-6 at the break, the Knights went on with the job in the second half with each side scoring twice.

In front of some of the club's premiership heroes on old boys day, the Knights put on an attacking masterclass through Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga.

And when the camera flashed on 1997 premiership winning captain Paul Harragon in the crowd, he was grinning from ear to ear at the show.

Ponga was rested in last week's loss to Sydney Roosters but was all the better for it on Sunday.

The star fullback set up two tries and scored one of his own, while Enari Tuala scored a double and Jacob Saifiti and Gehamat Shibasaki all got on the board.

It was a miserable performance from the Dragons, but Zac Lomax and Cody Ramsey were shining lights.

Lomax, in particular, who scored a double, while Corey Norman scored after Ramsay made a line break down the touchline.

The Knights are set to play their first finals series since 2013 and could host their first home finals game at McDonald Jones Stadium since 2006.

That destiny is now in their own hands sitting one point above South Sydney on the ladder with a game to play.

"I've been here, I know we'll only get 50 per cent but I've been here when the place is rocking and I understand how difficult it is to come up the highway and play here," said coach Adam O'Brien.

"It would be huge (to get a home final).

"It would be great for our supporters, everyone.

"But we're not there yet, we have a game in five days against a team that's going really well."

The Knights will now face Gold Coast on Friday, who are on a four-game winning streak, needing a win to cement at least sixth place.

Should they beat the Titans, the Knights will face Wayne Bennett's Rabbitohs in the first week of the finals in Newcastle.

Ironically, Bennett was the last man to get the Knights to the play-offs in 2013.