Kalyn Ponga has silenced his doubters, scoring a double in the first half to help Newcastle to a 42-6 win over the Cowboys on Saturday afternoon.
The victory snaps a six-game losing streak and sees the Knights move just two points behind the eighth-placed Panthers.
Despite many ruling them out of finals contention, a top-eight finish is certainly a realistic possibility for Nathan Brown's men with the injury-plagued Tigers, lowly Titans and faltering Panthers to come in the next three weeks.
In fact, their last-round meeting with Penrith could very well decide the final position in the eight as the Broncos have tough games against Parramatta and Souths in the next fortnight.
Already out of finals calculations, the Cowboys started Saturday's game like a side with little to play for as the conceded two quick tries in just as many minutes.
It could've been three if not for a forward pass from Connor Watson after the hooker exposed some lazy middle defence to streak straight through in their first set of the game.
Watson was a constant spark for the home side, running for 133 metres before hobbling off with a leg complaint.
But the Knights were fast to rectify that mistake.
The first try saw Ponga step back inside and score before Mitchell Pearce split them right through the middle and ran away to score.
North Queensland regrouped to hold on and hit back in the 26th minute when Jake Clifford took on the line and surged over.
But a costly error on the stroke of half-time ended with Ponga slicing through to land a late blow.
The Cowboys had several chances to get back into the game in the second half but Pearce crashed over next to the posts in the 58th minute to crush their spirit.
The Newcastle halfback was brilliant, putting a tough month behind him to score two and put Mitchell Barnett through off the following set.
Sione Mata'utia then scored minutes later to push the difference out to 30 with 10 minutes remaining.
A late offload from Barnett put Mason Lino, who kicked seven conversions, through for a simple try in the 74th minute.
One of the Tigers and Knights' finals hopes will be over when the pair meet next week while the Cowboys host a desperate Penrith side.