YORK City Knights returned to winning ways in the Betfred Championship with a dominant 29-16 victory over Newcastle Thunder at Kingston Park.

Here are five things that we learnt from the game.

1. There is still plenty of fight left in this York team

York’s recent defeat against Bradford Bulls confirmed that they would miss out on a place in the Betfred Championship play-offs, as had seemed likely for long periods of the season.

Despite not having that enticing incentive to aim for in these final three league matches, the Knights still showed plenty of fight and spirit against Newcastle, which is a promising sign nonetheless.

The visitors got off to a particularly bright start and capitalised on some poor defending to score after just four minutes.

Four converted tries inside the first half an hour of the game summarised a rapid start by York who showed genuine attacking intent from the off.

For context, it should be pointed out that Newcastle’s announcer was celebrating the North East club avoiding relegation, so it would be wrong to view this win as an immediate springboard for success in 2022.

But a first away win since May, and a convincing one at that, sent the travelling support home happy.

2. Strong starts from Championship debutants Myles Harrison and Toby Warren

Much of the post-match discussion from York head coach James Ford surrounded the performances of young pair Harrison and Warren, both of whom made their Championship debut.

And rightly so as neither of the former Heworth pair looked out of place after making the step-up from the fringes of the first-team, with Harrison in particular catching the eye.

On his York debut in the Betfred Challenge Cup defeat against Wigan Warriors, Harrison looked solid under the high ball and against Newcastle he displayed his ability in offence too.

The stand-out moment was on 15 minutes when Harrison claimed a high kick just metres from his own line, stormed over the top of a Newcastle defender before teeing up Ben Jones-Bishop for a run-away score from halfway.

Warren too carried strongly and made good metres from second-row while also displaying application in the defence.

Given that both are still teenagers, Ford may still be keen to temper some of the early expectation around them and stress that the jump from junior amateur rugby league to a top Championship is a major one.

But the early signs from two York-born players are certainly promising.

3. Fellow youngster Aidan McGowan also makes a big impression

Another up-and-coming prospect who stood out in a youthful Knights side was McGowan.

The Huddersfield Giants loanee struggled to make much of an impact on his York debut against Bradford and, like many before, found it tough to cope with the kicking of Danny Brough in backfield.

Having seen Harrison take his spot at full-back, it would have been easy for McGowan to throw in the towel but he grabbed his chance with both hands from the bench.

Coming off the bench, he made an immediate impact as an interchange by scoring two tries in the space of as many minutes.

The first was the best of the pair as he sharply changed his travel of direction to cut through the Thunder backline and then speed past the covering full-back.

McGowan then had a simpler task of finishing off a stunning length-of-the-field break by the Knights from the subsequent restart.

In what was his first ever career appearance at half-back, McGowan performed admirably and, should game time at Huddersfield continue to be limited, it would be wrong to rule out him returning to York next year.

4. Youngster AJ Towse is set to feature before the end of the year

After seeing Harrison and Warren take their opportunities in first-team starts, fellow former Heworth junior Towse will be hoping for further game time before the end of the year.

The winger made a brief appearance when coming off the bench against Wigan several months ago and since spent time on loan at Rochdale Hornets, like Harrison and Warren.

With just two league games to go this year, against Sheffield Eagles and London Broncos, Ford said he hoped to be able to afford Towse minutes on the field.

“We want to win the games but I also want to make sure that AJ Towse gets a game” he said.

5. Great to see Super League fans at Kingston Park

York have been involved in many big occasions this year, such as the opening of the LNER Community Stadium to fans, the Women’s Challenge Cup and the 1895 Cup final.

Friday night was yet another of those as plenty of Super League fans watching the curtain raiser to the Magic Weekend.

Leeds, Hull FC and Salford shirts were all on show in support of the game.