Illawarra were cut down to size by a rampant Newcastle team in Sunday's NSW Cup clash at Hunter Stadium.
The Cutters had surged to second on the ladder after punishing Wentworthville last weekend, but fell flat against the Knights' feeder team, losing 38-16.
Dan Hunt was on the comeback trail from a foot injury, leading the charge, but couldn't spark the Cutters, who trailed 16-4 at the break.
Akuila Uate and Timana Tahu provided the star power for Newcastle, with Tahu crossing for a 50th-minute try.
Hunt replied with a four-pointer of his own shortly after to breathe life into the Cutters, but Clint Newton and Josh Mantellato sealed victory for the Novocastrians.