The post Nathan Brown era began with a 38-4 win on Saturday as Newcastle stormed past cellar dwellers the Gold Coast Titans at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Interim coach Kristian Woolf stepped into the role prior to the round 24 clash after Brown called time on his four-year stint at the club.
Heavy rain and a disillusioned fanbase contributed to a crowd of just 8,124 – Newcastle’s lowest since 1997 – on Old Boys Day.
The Knights went behind early when Gold Coast’s Ryley Jacks crashed through several would-be tackles to score.
However, the home side responded in the 12th minute as halfback Mitchell Pearce received a pass from prop David Klemmer and dived across the line.
Three more tries before the break, courtesy of Mitch Barnett, Hymel Hunt and Connor Watson, saw the Knights lead 24-4.
Newcastle extended its advantage in the 45th minute when Bradman Best, in just his second NRL game, raced onto a Kalyn Ponga pass to score his first try.
Further tries to Sione Mata’utia and Lachlan Fitzgibbon completed the comfortable victory.
The Knights will tackle Penrith away this Sunday 8 September from 4pm.