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Knights crushed by dominant Titans

A hat-trick to super-star forward David Fifita has seen the nib Newcastle Knights go down 42-16 to the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.

The loss saw Newcastle extend their winless run at the ground, with the venue representing a graveyard to the squad for six straight seasons.

With a healthy crowd building on a postcard-worthy day on the Gold Coast, all the talk pre-game surrounded the return of Kalyn Ponga.

Things couldn't have started worse.

His kick off sailed out on the full, allowing the Titans to launch an attack which ultimately ended in Kevin Proctor charging over untouched in just the second minute of the game.

Patrick Herbert had their second just six minutes later, brushing through some soft defence close to the line.

The Knights hit back soon after, with Chris Randall burrowing over for his first ever try in the NRL.

Randall scores his first NRL try

With temperatures souring into the 30s, the Robina-based stadium was sporting a lightning-fast track which allowed for some absorbing and expansive football to be played.

Unfortunately for the Knights, they just didn't see any of the ball.

In fact, the Titans enjoyed almost 70% of possession in the opening half hour of the game as they turned the screws on the visitors.

The pressure paid off as Fifita restored the Titans' lead, before charging over for a second in a matter of minutes.

At 26-6, the game seemed all-but over.

However, the game soon changed in a flash.

Herbert was sent to the bin for a professional foul after holding down a rampaging Enari Tuala, who seemed set to score before the try-saving tackle.

The Knights capitalised on the one-man advantage soon after, with Hymel Hunt crossing in the corner to give the side a boost heading into the sheds.

Knights take advantage of extra man straight away

Possession finally shifted following the resumption of play, with the Knights denied what would have been a try-of the season contender by Enari Tuala.

It turned out to be a cruel blow, with Herbert returning to the field and restoring the Titans to 13 men.

The Titans took full advantage of the good fortune, with Fifita grabbing his hat-trick soon after.

Thompson and Herbert grabbed their second tries back to back, icing the game heading into the final quarter.

Ponga raced 50 metres for a consolation try, wrapping up a good performance in his return from shoulder surgery.

The loss won't be the only thing giving Adam O'Brien headaches on the flight back to Newcastle.

Tyson Frizell has a nervous wait ahead of him after being put on report for a high shot on Philip Sami.

Sami did not return to the contest.

Meanwhile, Randall was forced off midway through the first half with a suspected arm injury, with the young development player rushed to hospital for treatment.