The brilliance of stars Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga was a big factor as Newcastle finally breathed some life into their finals bid with a dominant win at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The desperate Knights snapped a six game losing streak with a 42-6 rout of the struggling North Queensland Cowboys that saw them jump to ninth on the ladder, just two behind eighth-placed Penrith.
Pearce and Ponga were dynamic, both scoring try doubles while centre Sione Mata'utia was also outstanding in the 36 point win.
The only downside for the home side was a knee injury to hooker Connor Watson.
Running with a strong wind at their back, the Knights led 18-6 at halftime but the margin should have been far greater.
Watson crucified a try in the opening minute when he burst through with Ponga in support but his late off-load was forward.
It set the tone for a number of missed opportunities from the home side in the opening 40 minutes.
On another occasion, Watson failed to find an unmarked Pearce on his inside after a Ponga bust while centre Tautau Moga passed the ball over the sideline with his winger Hymel Hunt unmarked not long after.
To rub salt into the wound, interchange prop Jacob Saifiti was controversially denied a try by the video referee with Mitch Barnett penalised for an obstruction close to the Cowboys line after he had played the ball.
But a suspect Cowboys defence did give up three first half tries with that man Ponga heavily involved.
He stepped off his left foot and found a huge hole up the middle to score from close range for a 6-0 lead after six minutes before Pearce made a bust one halfway and dummied past Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater for a 12-0 lead just two minutes later.
The Cowboys attack was only marginally more effective than their defence in the first half but they finally had some joy 27 minutes in after a number of repeat sets on the Knights
line with halfback Jake Clifford bursting through Mason Lino and David Klemmer to bridge the gap to 12-6.
But right on halftime after a costly first tackle mistake from Cowboys centre Coen Hess, Ponga injected himself out wide after the scrum win to cross in the corner. Lino converted for a 12 point advantage.
Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt fluffed a golden opportunity to hit back 12 minutes into the second half when he couldn't handle a bouncing ball after two Cowboys kicks with the try-line beckoning. It proved costly with the Knights coming up with two tries in the space of four minutes midway through the half to burst clear 30-6.
Pearce scored his second, stepping off his right foot and forcing his way over from close range before the Knights skipper laid on another with a perfect pass for Barnett to cross.
The demoralised Cowboys were looking for a quick exit 14 minutes from time when Knights centre Sione Mata'utia made it 36-6 with a try after his winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall had run 60 metres after collecting a grubber in his own in-goal.