A Mitchell Pearce field goal with 17 seconds to play secured the Knights their place in the finals with a 15-14 win over the Titans at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Thursday night.
With Kalyn Ponga and Pearce at their inspirational best the Knights climbed to 26 competition points to ensure they will finish seventh for the second consecutive season.
"Mitch was huge, he was really good," Knights coach Adam O'Brien said.
"He shouldered a lot of the frustration with the team last week when we were dissecting our attack against the Bulldogs and I could see 'Junior' was taking a lot of it on his shoulders and that wasn't really right but champions stand up in big moments and that's what he did."
Ponga finished the night with 22 runs for 179 metres, nine tackle breaks and a try assist while Pearce produced a crucial 40-20 in the second half and the ice cool one-pointer to seal the win.
Match: Knights v Titans
Round 24 -
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
"That went right to the death and we're just happy to be in the finals," Ponga told Channel Nine post-match.
"They throw a lot of footy at you and we thought that we absorbed most of it in the first half and we just wanted to stick to our game plan and play for the full 80 and we did that.
"I thought we looked pretty solid in the middle and we just want to keep building on our performances heading into the finals."
O'Brien echoed his captain's assessment, saying "the opposition threw a lot of footy at us and at one stage the possession was a lot to one team and not very much to the other".
Pearce wins it for the Knights!
"But we just found a way to pick ourselves up and keep fighting and just really proud of them to get the result at the end.
"I'm just really proud of the players and the staff as well, they've really committed to life up here and some are without family but we've got a good group there that wants to go further."
In the early going it was the ninth-placed Titans who had the ascendancy with Phillip Sami crossing after just five minutes courtesy of a Beau Fermor line break.
Seven minutes later Jamal Fogarty landed a penalty goal to make it 6-0 and the Titans looked good but that’s when Ponga stamped his class on the match.
The Knights fullback shifted from the right-hand side to the left and charged onto a pass from dummy half Jayden Brailey before splitting two defenders to score.
Fifita into the action and into wrecking ball mode
Having drawn level the Knights then shot themselves in the foot with mistakes by Josh King and Hymel Hunt gifting the Titans a chance to wrest back the lead.
After being held back for the first 32 minutes, David Fifita had immediate impact when Justin Holbrook put him on, leaving three defenders in his wake as he crossed for his 15th try of the season.
The Titans held onto their lead until the 61st minute when Ponga took the ball at speed 10 metres out and delivered a perfect pass for Mitchell Pearce to score.
With the game in the balance at 12-12 it was the Knights who edged ahead by two in the 71st minute when Jake Clifford converted a penalty goal after Pearce was tackled late by Jarrod Wallace.
Four minutes later the Titans were level again when Jayden Campbell was taken high and Jamal Fogarty landed the penalty shot.
Junior by name only: Pearce carries Knights home
A missed field goal shot by Titans centre Patrick Herbert with two minutes to play handed the Knights a seven-tackle set and after Clifford had his field goal charged down it was Pearce who stepped up to ice the win.
After a six-year finals drought between 2014-19, which also delivered three wooden spoons to the proud club, the Knights have now finished in the top eight in consecutive seasons and will look to fine tune their game further against the Broncos in round 25.
The Titans, meanwhile, face a nervous wait for other results this weekend ahead of a huge clash with the Warriors on the last day of the regular season.