Newcastle tore the Rabbitohs to shreds at Hunter Stadium in Round 26 last year, with winger Akuila Uate scoring four tries in a 40-24 victory that confirmed their spot in last year’s finals series.
Uate’s man-of-the-match performance earned him a share of the Newcastle club record for most tries in a match, alongside four other players including Andrew Johns.
In front of a delirious full house of 30,000 fans the Knights dominated from the outset, racing in three tries for an 18-nil lead with just 15 minutes gone.
Souths got on the scoreboard in the 19th minute after their first attacking foray inside the Knights’ red zone – but that’s where their first-half challenge ended, with Uate scoring back-to-back four-pointers to gift the home side a 30-6 lead at the break.
Uate crossed for his third try to extend the lead to 34-6 with half an hour remaining before Souths caught fire with a hat-trick of tries – including two to fullback Nathan Merritt – that saw the visitors close the scoreline to 34-24 with seven minutes remaining.
But Uate gave the home fans the best possible ending when he streaked away for a long-range try as the siren loomed.
It was a comprehensive if fits-and-starts win by the Knights, who dominated possession 53% to 47% and carved out a whopping 1713 metres – 348 metres more than their rivals.
Souths had no answer to the Knights’ explosive running, with their defence bent backwards all night as they stumbled to 59 missed tackles.
Kurt Gidley was a wind-up force at the back, making 24 runs for 214 metres, while Dave Taylor was among the Rabbitohs’ best with 16 hit-ups and a game-high four offloads.