ROUND SIX MATCH REPORT | Newcastle Knights 27- 6 Brisbane Broncos

Shannon Meyer reviews Newcastle’s return to winning ways, and another Thursday night loss for the Broncos.

MATCH TIMELINE

Minute Scoring Play Score
9th Try – Kurt Mann (Newcastle) Newcastle 4-0
11th Goal – Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle) Newcastle 6-0
20th Jamyane Isaako (Brisbane) – SIN BIN Newcastle 6-0
21st Try – Hymel Hunt (Newcastle) Newcastle 10-0
23rd Goal – Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle) Newcastle 12-0
29th Try – Xavier Coates (Brisbane) Newcastle 12-4
30th Goal – Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane) Newcastle 12-6
39th Field Goal – Mitchell Pearce (Newcastle) Newcastle 13-6
43rd Try – Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle) Newcastle 17-6
44th Goal – Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle) Newcastle 19-6
57th Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane) – SIN BIN Newcastle 19-6
59th Goal – Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle) Newcastle 21-6
77th Try – Mitchell Pearce (Newcastle) Newcastle 25-6
78th Goal – Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle) Newcastle 27-6

MATCH SUMMARY

1st Half

It’s Thursday night, so that means a Broncos game. After a decent performance against Manly, a good start was needed against a side that held their own against the Storm the previous week.

A regulation opening few minutes was livened up with a huge hit by the returning Tevita Pangai, Jr on David Klemmer, but the Knights prop would have the last laugh a few minutes later. Same for the match review committee, as Pangai may have to answer to the contact. His return from suspension may not be a lengthy one.

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Newcastle had field position and ball in the first part of the game, but their last tackle options were lacking. But, after forcing a repeat set, the Knights got on the scorecard as their two big props Daniel Saifiti and Klemmer laid a platform with consecutive hit ups for Mitchell Pearce to then provide a perfect pass for Kurt Mann; he ran a perfect line and found a gap 10 metres out to score easily in the 10th minute.

Not long after the Broncos thought they had replied through Corey Oates, with the Broncos winger looking like he had eventually forced the ball down under great Newcastle attention. But after referring the try to the Bunker, it was disallowed for Broncos fullback Jamayne Isaako assisting Oates putting the ball down by pushing the Knights defender. An interesting decision, but certainly not as bad as the Premier League howler from earlier in the morning.

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Another refereeing intervention in the 20th minute also went against the Broncos; this was a quite controversial and possibly very harsh on Brisbane, and it cost them more points. A break up the middle for Newcastle saw Ponga pulled down 10 metres out, but as the Knights fullback rose to his feet he was dragged down a little by Isaako in the typical way to buy some time. Whilst Ponga was temporarily restrained, the move saw Isaako in the sin bin for 10 minutes for a professional foul that looked pretty soft on first glance and on replay.

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Newcastle took the tap instead of the easy penalty goal 10 metres in front, and were rewarded a few plays later when Kurt Mann sensed that Brisbane were short on the right, and provided a perfect sideways grubber to winger Hymel Hunt who picked the ball up on the run with ease and scored the Knights’ second try.

The Broncos were getting back into the game after the second Knights try, but errors kept the pressure on them and away from the Newcastle line. But, in a slice of luck they hadn’t received to that point, Brisbane got on the score sheet after Xavier Coates intercepted former Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough’s blind side pass a few metres out from their own line. The gift was taken easily by the PNG International who ran the length of the field to score.

The rest of the first half played out as the rest of the first half, with Newcastle promising in attack and the Broncos producing too many errors. But no more scores.

2nd Half

Newcastle picked up where they left off in the first half as they scored their third try in the 43rd minute through Daniel Saifiti. The prop, who was outstanding all night, got the reward for his hard work as he dragged three Broncos defenders for five metres to slam the ball down and extend the Knights’ lead.

The Knights then continued to pressure the Broncos in the early stages of the second half, and had a 91 to nine percent possession advantage in the first eight minutes, but were unable to turn it into more points. The game evened out after that point, with both sides sharing the ball and territory. Although the Broncos looked much less convincing in attack, hard to fathom with a halves combination of Anthony Milford and Brodie Croft.

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That reprieve for the Broncos didn’t last long, as errors gave Newcastle the momentum again, and led to yet another sin bin stint for a Broncos player. This time it was Patrick Carrigan for a pretty cowardly late hit into the back of Mitchell Pearce after he had kicked the ball. A small melee ensued, and the wash up saw Newcastle grab another two points, and the Broncos lock grabbing 10 minutes of enforced rest.

The Broncos fared quite well during the second stint with 12 men, only conceding the penalty goal, and came close to scoring with a player down, only for the final pass to go astray.

Just when it looked like the game was settling for no further scores in the last 20 minutes, Newcastle added one last try with three minutes to go, as Pearce showed some very nice footwork to ease to the try line from 10 metres out. It was a try that summed up the respective nights to a degree, with Newcastle dynamic, organised and direct, and just wanting it more than the Broncos, who tried hard enough, but were just out-enthused.

 

GAME HIGHLIGHT

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As good as the win was for Newcastle, the highlight for their rugby league week has to be the re-signing of Kalyn Ponga. The $4.5M four-year deal keeps one of rugby league brightest stars at the club long term, and who could doubt that he won’t turn his intention to win the title with Newcastle into a reality. He was involved everywhere, and as good as ever on Thursday night.

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The Xavier Coates intercept was easily the Broncos’ best moment for the game, but who doesn’t like a good intercept pass, and the sight of a super-fast athlete running 100 metre at near-Usain Bolt speed? It bodes well for PNG league fans to have a player like Coates willing to play for his nation.

As good as the flashy attacking rugby league is great, there’s nothing like a rampaging forward or two, in the case of the Saifiti brothers. Daniel got his reward with the first try in the second half, but his brother Jacob was equally impressive when he came onto the field, and their efforts (and others) laid a great platform for the attacking players to work their magic, which they did throughout the evening.

Despite being the Thursday night kings for free-to-air TV, the Broncos have now won two of their last 11 games on Thursdays. The NRL may regret allowing Channel Nine to have the Broncos kicking off most weekends if their form doesn’t turn around soon.

SQUADS

Newcastle Knights:1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 18. Gehamat Shibasaki 4. Bradman Best   5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Sione Mata’utia 16. Tim Glasby. Interchange: 13. Herman Ese’ese 14. Tex Hoy 15. Jacob Saifiti 17. Aidan Guerra.

Brisbane Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Oates 3. Herbie Farnworth 4. Darius Boyd 5. Xavier Coates 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Matthew Lodge 18. Issac Luke 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Patrick Carrigan. Interchange: 9. Cory Paix 15. Ben Te’o 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Thomas Flegler.

 

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