North Queensland looked sharp from early on, Thurston directing traffic well and orchestrating some attractive attacking plays with plenty of depth.
The Knights never really turned up, Newcastle consistently dropped the ball from the get-go and could never find any rhythm. Of more concern for the Knights and New South Wales, key man Kurt Gidley sustained a knee injury early on and was never the same.
Only Danny Wicks and Ben Rogers really showed any promise for the Knights, but for the Cowboys it was an enjoyable night out in front of a small crowd by their standards.
Luke O’Donnell and the North Queensland forwards were hitting with force and really gave their backs a chance to cut the Knights to bits. Smart kicking and consistent desire saw the Cows threaten on most attacking raids.
For coach Neil Henry, he will be just as impressed with his sides defence. In particular on-line, with the home side repelling several raids successfully.
Luke O’Donnell was involved in a flare up with Danny Wicks late in the piece, with the enforcer smartly choosing to walk away for the first time in his career – not wanting to risk his place in the NSW side.
The Knights have a big task next week, hosting the table topping Bulldogs in what should be a good clash.
The Cowboys ride into their bye nicely, ensuring a 4 point spread before they face the Bunnies in Townsville the week after.