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Kalyn Ponga made a spectacular return from a groin injury at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night, inspiring Newcastle to a 38-0 shut-out of his former club North Queensland while proving himself fit for a State of Origin recall for the Maroons.

Ponga had not played for two months, missing Newcastle’s previous six games plus the first two Origin encounters, but showed no ill effects against the Cowboys to lead the Knights to back-to-back wins for only the second time this year.