Doubles to Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce have entered the nib Newcastle Knights back into the winners circle, defeating North Queensland 42-6 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Knights came out firing in the first half, missing an early chance to take the lead when Connor Watson burst through the line, only for his last pass to Ponga to be deemed forward.
Ponga didn’t miss his second chance against his former club, with the skilful fullback using his trademark footwork to cross in the seventh minute.
Mason Lino made no mistake with the conversion, gifting the Knights a 6-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later Pearce doubled the advantage, with the No.7 slicing through the Cowboys line to race 60 metres to score under the posts.
The Knights continued to look strong in attack, however the Cowboys capitalised on a few crucial Newcastle errors to strike back through Jake Clifford.
Jordan Kahu added the extras to make the score 12-6.
The Knights looked to have restored their advantage before half-time through Jacob Saifiti, however the video referee ruled Mitch Barnett had obstructed a Cowboys player in the lead up.
The Knights weren’t to be denied just four minutes later, with Ponga crossing for a double to send Newcastle in to the sheds with an 18-6 lead.
Errors were again an issue for the Knights in the second half, with the Cowboys spending much of the early exchanges camped in the Knights red zone.
However, the Knights defensive line held firm and was soon rewarded when Mitchell Pearce stepped through for his second try in 59th minute.
Lino’s conversion left the Knights with a 24-6 lead going into the final quarter of the game.
Pearce was again instrumental in the Knights’ fifth, with a sublime pass finding Mitch Barnett in a yawning gap.
It was a similar story for Sione Mata’utia, charging over virtually untouched to extend the margin to 30.
With the game firmly one way traffic it was only a matter of time before Lino added his name to the list of try scorers, showing impressive footwork to cross in the 74th minute.
His 7th conversion of the day made the score 42-6, and extended his tally of consecutive goal kicks to 16.
The win did come at somewhat of a cost for the Knights, with Connor Watson limping off in the 55th minute with a knee injury.