Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts guide their side to massive win.
The Newcastle Knights have quashed the notion they are a one man team after dominating the North Queensland Cowboys to run out 34-6 victors at Hunter Stadium.
Pre-match news from the Knights camp confirmed star playmaker Kurt Gidley would be missing from the side due to a calf strain.
Newcastle has never had a high success rate without their on-field leader, however, Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts were superb as the Knights stormed home to their second win of the season.
Despite the final margin it was the Cowboys who were on the attack early as they earned four sets in-a-row in quick time.
Eventually the dam wall broke, with Gavin Cooper reaching out to plant the ball on the line with Jonathan Thurston converting to make it 6-0.
The Cowboys began to cough up cheap possession coming out of their own half and Roberts made them pay with a flashy dummy pass to ghost his way through the line.
Errors starting to creep into the game from both sides, with the more disciplined outfit likely to gain an advantage before the break.
A Beau Scott offload to Mullen saw him crack the Cowboys line, but the final pass went to ground off Danny Buderus’ hands.
Newcastle favourite son Akuila Uate finished off a crisp play to score his fourth try of the season, with Roberts again wayward with the boot to make it 8-6 to the home side.
Newcastle began to run riot on their right hand side, with Alex McKinnion storming across to make it 14-6 as the Cowboys began to look devoid of ideas of how to slow down the red and blue side.
The momentum shift to Newcastle was tempered when Beau Scott hobbled off with a groin strain, which could put him in doubt for next week, as he did not take any part in the second half.
Errors continued to mount for the Cowboys early in the second stanza, as the physicality of the Knights in defence turned the screws on the visitors.
Roberts slotted a penalty thanks to a stripping call against North Queensland’s Matt Scott, taking them to 16-6.
The pipes sounded at Hunter Stadium when James McManus touched down a Roberts grubber, as the margin grew to 16.
Uate showed great strength after latching onto a Mullen kick to ignore two Cowboys defenders, as he took his career tally to 75 tries in 93 games, as the game became a blowout at 28-6.
The Cowboys had completed just 19-30 sets of six with 10 minutes left in the game, raising questions about their ability to mentally compete early in the season.
Uate gift wrapped a try for fullback Darius Boyd when he managed to pass off the ground, bringing further punishment to the wayward Cowboys as the score reached 34-6 at the final whistle.
Mullen was arguably the player of the game as he displayed excellent control of all aspects of his kicking game to set up the Knights massive win.
Newcastle will look to stay on a roll when they host the Canberra Raiders in round four, while Cowboys coach Neil Henry and his troops will have much soul-searching to do before they travel to play New Zealand at Mount Smart Stadium.