The NSW Cup Knights lost 26-18 to the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday afternoon, conceding their lead late on to a glut of tries.
Despite NYC graduates Jake Mamo, Joseph Tapine and James Taylor slotting into the team, the Knights were unable to open their campaign with a win.
The home side started well, halfback Danny Kerr placing a grubber for Cup debutant Josh Allison to score near the uprights.
Kerr added the extras, making the score 6-0 with three minutes played.
The Warriors nearly struck back in the next set, Gpi Pewhairangi breaking through the middle only for fullback Nathan Ross to stand tall and make a last-ditch tackle.
Kerr was at it again in the 24th minute, darting through a gap on the right side only to lose the ball under pressure.
The Warriors surged back up-field, James Bell exploiting a pocket of space to cross over right of the posts.
Pewhairangi made no mistakes with the conversion, the score locked at 6-6 with thirteen minutes to play in the first half.
The Warriors came close again three minutes later, fullback Viliami Kaveinga attempting to burrow over in the left corner only to be hauled out of play.
The Warriors' Matthew Allwood couldn't be denied soon after, the centre pushing through on the left edge to score.
Pewhairangi converted again, the score 12-6 when the players went to the sheds for half-time.
The second half started slowly, and then suddenly burst into life when Kerr made a winding run through the Warriors' defence to score.
Kerr added the extras to bring the score up to 12-12 with thirty minutes to play.
Fullback Ross was forced from the field minutes later following a head knock, Mamo moving from the wing to fill his position.
New recruit Jake Finn crossed over in the next set, barging past several defenders to plant the ball down.
Kerr again converted, pushing the score to 18-12.
The Warriors came close in the 59th minute, prop Sebastine Ikahihifo losing control of the ball as he went to plant it beneath the uprights.
Kaveinga finished off a scintillating move on the left edge nine minutes later, tearing through the Knights' defence to haul his team back into the game.
Pewhairangi sliced the conversion wide to leave the score at 18-16 with ten minutes to play.
The away side were gaining momentum now and second-rower Sione Lousi exposed the Knights' defence minutes later, scoring on the right side.
Pewhairangi again failed to convert, the scoreboard reading 20-18 with time running out.
Things went from bad to worse for the Knights soon after, Pewhairangi scoring the Warriors' third try in quick succession.
Pewhairangi had no problems with the conversion this time, boosting the final score to 26-18.
Newcastle Knights: 18 (T: Allison, Kerr, Finn; G: Kerr 3/3).
New Zealand Warriors: 28