The Warriors' classy thank you to Tamworth for hosting them during the lockdown has been a victorious one for them, with more than 1800 people soaking up the sun and a dominant Warriors performance against the Knights at Scully Park on Saturday.
The Warriors, who have Tamworth's 2340 postcode on their jerseys, found a higher gear in the second half to thump Newcastle 36-6 after leading 8-6 at the break.
It was their fourth win in five games and a continuation of an unlikely revival, after a horror start to the season, that has them vying for a top-eight spot. They snapped the Knights' three-game winning streak.
Post-match, the Warriors stood on the field and applauded the crowd - reduced substantially due to the need to adhere to COVID protocols - and the crowd applauded them back.
Warriors coach Todd Payten said his side had not spoken about playing finals footy this season, but they were a "good side".
"We're building ... the belief is definitely growing and they're enjoying themselves," he said, adding that the Warriors would play at Scully Park next weekend "if we play like that again".
The Warriors went into the match in a four-way tie for ninth, with the Knights clash the first of four successive matches against top-eight sides in the five-week run to the finals.
Knights coach Adam O'Brien described his team's performance as "embarrassing", and warned that Newcastle - who went into the match a point adrift of fourth place - had a history of getting ahead of themselves.
He said the side needed to "have some honest conversations" over their poor performance "and take the lessons out of it very quickly".
Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck - coming off a monster performance in his side's 20-14 defeat of the Bulldogs in the previous round - scored two excellent second-half tries, while Warriors winger Adam Pompey also crossed twice.
A final pass out the back of the hand by Warriors No 4 Peta Hiku and a diving piece of athleticism by Pompey to score in the corner - both standard fare in the modern game but impressive nonetheless - resulted in the first points of the match, in the eighth minute.
Halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita converted: 6-0.
In the 18th minute, Knights No 4 Gehamat Shibasaki sailed high to grab Mitchell Pearce's towering cross-field kick and then showed good hustle to score from close range. Kalyn Ponga converted from out wide: 8-6.
Six minutes later, the Knights almost took the lead when Pearce went himself close to the Warriors' tryline, frustrating defenders before Tuivasa-Sheck stripped the ball in the in-goal area.
In the 32nd minute, Pompey was denied his second try when Ponga shouldered him into touch.
In the 47th minute, Warriors No 16 Daniel Alvaro was held up over the tryline. Referee Matt Cecchin called a try, but the bunker correctly said nah.
Four minutes later, Tuivasa-Sheck finally delivered on his lingering menace: a big left-foot step 10m out from Newcastle's tryline leaving Pearce grasping at thin air. Harris-Tavita converted: 14-6.
In the 61st minute, another display of Pompey athleticism and a bullet-like pass out the back of Hiku's hand resulted in the Warriors scoring again, with Ponga unable to stop an outstretched Pompey from crossing in the corner. Harris-Tavita missed the conversion: 18-6.
The result was put beyond doubt when No 5 George Jennings strolled over untouched to score out wide in the 70th minute. Harris-Tavita converted: 24-6.
Shortly after that, Tuivasa-Sheck scored his second try when he beat Pearce and then Ponga to cross from 10m out. Harris-Tavita added the extras: 30-6.
But the Warriors were not finished: lock-forward Jazz Tevaga crashed over from close range late in the match and Harris-Tavita converted.