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Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga.

Newcastle score 18 points in one half but let in three tries in the other presenting coach Nathan Brown with a problem to eradicate from future Knights games.

It would have been hard to find two more contrasting halves of football for the Knights, who were searching for three wins in a row for the first time in 2018 when they went to 1300 Smiles Stadium to face North Queensland on Friday night.

Instead after they accumulated an 18-6 lead at halftime - even with a man in the sin-bin - they were run down by the Cowboys' three tries in the second half to lose the match 20-18.

Brown was far from impressed with the second-half capitulation, noting it was something they must eradicate from their game if they're to win more consistently in the future.

"Our first half we were obviously by far the better team and there were two or three more tries we probably should have scored. We seemed to open them up pretty much at will," Brown said.

"We defended pretty fair, they got one while we had a man in the bin.

"Apart from that we seemed to cover them well but at the start of our second half, as has been the case a fair bit in the past eight or so weeks, was really poor." 

Match Highlights: Cowboys v Knights - Round 20, 2018

Brown put the issues down to simple attitude, disappointed that his side thought they could go out and run rampant against a side that had Johnathan Thurston in it.

Despite their inability to score points in the second half, the Knights coach was still hopeful his side would hang on as the Cowboys started to make their comeback.

"I think our attitude was to go out there and try and score points in the second half and not try and build any sort of pressure, it was really poor," he said.

"We were obviously hopeful of hanging on, in all of our close games this year we've done pretty well.

"But we turned the ball over and JT [Thurston] kept the ball and put the ball in the goal a few times, got some repeat sets, jagged a try and then it was game on."

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