A disappointed Kalyn Ponga has opened up on Friday's loss to North Queensland.
Up 18-6 at halftime, the nib Newcastle Knights failed to score a point in the second half as the Cowboys charged home to a 20-18 victory at the death.
In his first outing against his former team since leaving to join the Knights at the end of last season, a gutted Ponga knows the game was one that got away.
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"Our second half was poor," Ponga said.
"It's a bit of our downfall at the moment.
"We didn't build any pressure or put them in their half so it's pretty disappointing, really."
While he was excited to be back in Townsville and face his former teammates for the first time, he didn't build the game up in his head.
An ankle injury added to the theatre of it but Ponga admitted there was never any doubt in his mind that he was going to take the field.
"Mentally I was always going to play," he said.
"In my head even when I did it I was pretty confident I wanted to play. It's only as tough as you make it really."