It was the sobering reality check that showed the Knights just how far off the pace they really are.
A week after qualifying for their first finals appearance in seven years, they were given an absolute footy lesson by the Sydney Roosters at Sydney Cricket Ground.
The defending premiers were at their ruthless best in a 42-12 thrashing that has left the Knights with plenty of work to do to prove they will not just make up the numbers in the play-offs.
They went into the game without rested stars Kalyn Ponga, Mitch Barnett and Hymel Hunt but there were no excuses for their missed-tackle count and second half error rate with one of the only real positives, the return of winger Edrick Lee from injury. Lee was outstanding.
The Roosters destroyed the Knights right edge defence early and were scoring at a point a minute at one stage and Newcastle was never in the hunt.
Prior to the game, a minute's silence was observed in memory of Central Newcastle prop Joel Dark, who tragically died on Friday, five days after he collapsed during a game in Newcastle.
it was an emotional moment for his cousin, Roosters backrower Boyd Cordner, who was out of the game early after suffering another head knock.
It took the Roosters just three minutes to sound the alarm bells in the Knights defence with Josh Morris crossing for his side's opening try after a short Luke Keary pass put Boyd Cordner in a gap before he put his centre over.
Keary opened up the Knights right edge defence a second time when he darted down the short side from dummy half and off-loaded for Daniel Tupou, who steamrolled over Tex Hoy for his side's second try and a 12-0 advantage.
The floodgates had well and truly opened.
Just two minutes later, Newcastle's right edge again opened up like Sydney Heads with Keary the recipient this time of some great work from James Tedesco for the Roosters third try and an 18-0 advantage.
It was 24-0 when centre Joseph Manu took an inside ball to crash through some paper-thin Knights defence on their own line.
At that stage, the Roosters were scoring at better then a point a minute with Newcastle's missed tackle count up to 16 and rising rapidly.
The Knights finally got on the board after 26 minutes when Edrick Lee tapped back a Mitchell Pearce kick for Enari Tuala to pick up and dive over in the corner.
Mason Lino's conversion made it 24-6.
The Knights struck again seven minutes from halftime when centre Gehamat Shibasaki, scored from a Pearce cross-kick to reduce the margin to 24-12 but a Tedesco try three minutes later brought up the 30-12 halftime scoreline.
Things didn't improve after the break for the Knights with Tupou getting over for his second try just three minutes after the resumption to stretch the scoreline to 36-12.
The Roosters bombed several other chances before Keary scored his second 10 minutes from time.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- Former Knights lower grade player Joel Dark passes away in hospital after suffering an on-field seizure
- Newcastle council cancels New Year's Eve fireworks, celebrations
- First look inside the Roundhouse hotel's glassy roof-top bar and restaurant in the heart of Newcastle's CBD
- NSW Coalition crisis: Nationals back down on koala policy cross bench threat after Gladys Berejiklian ultimatum