MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Knights got off to a blistering start when Kalyn Ponga broke away for a 60-metre run with his first touch. This put the Knights on the attack straight away, but Tyson Frizell produced an error to alleviate the early pressure.
Some back and forth play followed as both sides tried to ease into the pace of the game. The Broncos were first to blink when Patrick Carrigan lost the ball on the halfway line. Gifted an opportunity to attack, the Knights cashed in. Adam Clune grubbered towards the in-goal and got a deflection off the hands of debutant Ezra Mam. Tyson Frizell cleaned up the scraps and dived over for the first try.
It was a confidence boosting try for the Knights as they pressed forward again, looking to extend their advantage. The Broncos conversely were ill-disciplined, giving away some penalties to help the Knights into good field position. The home side came close to scoring twice, however they couldn’t finish on both occasions as they knocked-on in try scoring situations.
Eventually the momentum swung back in the Broncos favor. Tyson Frizell gave away a penalty for pushing Ezra Mam out of the way chasing a kick. After a grinding set of six, the Broncos manufactured a try out of nothing. Mam offloaded as he was tackled and Billy Walters sliced through the broken defence to grab the Broncos first points.
In response, the Knights found some energy late in the half. Playing in his first game for the club, Anthony Milford put a kick in looking for the in-goal and found it when Dane Gagai scooped up the ball and scored.
However, the bunker reviewed the grounding and controversially ruled Gagai had lost control and failed to re-grip the ball – a decision that was met with a chorus of boos from Knights fans. With the Knights feeling robbed of a certain try, the scores remained level heading into the break.
HALF-TIME: Newcastle Knights 6 Brisbane Broncos 6Embed from Getty Images
The Broncos came out firing after the break. Much like Ponga did in the first half, Corey Oates made a break with one of his first touches. Off the back of Oates’ run, the Broncos failed to execute on the fifth tackle as they turned possession over.
With the Knights slow to start, it wasn’t long before the Broncos had their second chance. Tyson Gamble passed to Jordan Riki, who cut through a tackle and scored a simple try to give the Broncos the lead.
Trailing by six, the blows kept coming for the Knights when Bradman Best left the field with a serious elbow injury. Rubbing salt in, the Broncos were gifted a penalty just minutes after the Best injury. Within range of the posts, Kotoni Staggs converted a penalty goal.
Following points, the Broncos were ill-disciplined again as Jordan Riki lost the ball in a tackle. This time, the Knights pounced on their opportunity. Matt Croker passed inside for Kalyn Ponga, who weaved around Te Maire Martin and with pace, found his way to the try line.
Despite the Ponga try, the Broncos refused to let the Knights back in. Selwyn Cobbo came to life as he made a damaging run returning a kick. A few minutes later, Kotoni Staggs broke into the backfield and got the ball inside to Cobbo. Dom Young chased hard and ankle-tapped him, but Cobbo got up and crashed over to finish off a long range try.
The try wasn’t without controversy, as Te Maire Martin passed to Staggs while he was running behind Jordan Riki. The bunker didn’t see any issue with the play – despite another chorus of boos ringing out from the Knights fans who thought a clear obstruction should’ve been called.
With the Knights demoralised, the Broncos slammed home their advantage. Corey Oates and Selwyn Cobbo scored in quick succession inside the last 10 minutes. An intercept try to Herbie Farnworth on the stroke of full time put the icing on the cake, making it a convincing 24 point win for the Broncos.
FULL-TIME: Newcastle Knights 12 Brisbane Broncos 36
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Selwyn Cobbo (Brisbane Broncos), 2 pts – Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos), 1 pt – Tyson Gamble (Brisbane Broncos)
Follow Nothing But League on Facebook.