North Queensland prevailed 22-12 away from home in Round 18 last year despite the absence of injured stars Johnathan Thurston and Aaron Payne.
It took the Cowboys just five minutes to open the scoring with Will Tupou cleaning up the scraps from a Matt Bowen cross-field bomb to plant the ball out wide.
Knights captain Kurt Gidley leveled the scores nine minutes later when he ran strongly at first receiver from a scrum and stormed over on the right edge. Scores remained locked at 6-all for the next 36 minutes until James Segeyaro broke through a tackle close to the line and offloaded for Joel Riethmuller to dive over between the posts.
Newcastle again hit back six minutes later when Ryan Stig stepped through and passed inside for Gidley to score his second. But after Bowen slotted a penalty goal for a 14-12 lead the Cowboys took control, with Segeyaro capitalising on a lucky bounce from a kick to score North Queensland’s third try and Cory Paterson then bursting through two tackles to score against his former club.
The Knights completed just 61 per cent of their sets (23/38) and made 77 tackles more than the visitors. North Queensland props Matt Scott and James Tamou were both impressive, Scott contributing 157 metres and 20 tackles and Tamou 137 metres, 17 tackles and five tackle-breaks.
Newcastle’s outside backs all topped 100 metres, with fullback Wes Naiqama leading the way with 193 metres and 13 tackle-breaks.