They were courageous, but that wasn’t enough for the Newcastle Knights as they bowed out of the Auckland Nines with a tense 16-11 quarter final loss to the Brisbane Broncos.
In a highly entertaining match, it seemed the Knights’ had no luck against a Broncos side that made the most of their chances to advance to the semi-finals.
Of course Newcastle were disappointed with the result, but the fitness of five-eighth Jarrod Mullen was of greater concern for the Club.
Mullen tore his hamstring while making a surging run just before the halftime break and limped from the field.
He retreated to the sideline where he immediately put ice on his injured hamstring.
With the Club’s inspirational leader off the field, the Knights’ struggled in attack and it allowed Brisbane to gain ascendancy of the match.
While Newcastle will head home without the prize money, they can keep their heads high after impressing in the inaugural tournament.
Brisbane deserved their win though, a triumph set-up in the opening stages of the match.
The Broncos scored first after just four minutes when hooker Ian McCullough, who barged over to give his side a 4-0 lead.
Newcastle hit back just two minutes later with Mullen doing it all himself to score and put the Knights back in the lead.
Mullen converted his special solo try to give the Knights a slender 6-4 advantage.
This lead was only short lived though, with Brisbane rookie Kodi Nikorima putting in a kick before he cleverly regathered to score.
Brisbane missed the conversion, but still had a close 8-6 advantage at the break.
With Mullen on the sidelines injured, the Broncos ran in two tries in the second half.
Speedster Josh Hoffman grabbed one, while Dale Copely scored the other to give Brisbane a commanding 16-6 lead.
Newcastle back-rower Alex McKinnon scored a late consolation try in the dying stages, but it wasn’t enough for the Knights to progress through to the semi-finals.
QF Full Time
Newcastle Knights 11 (BT: McKinnon, T: Mullen, G: Roberts 1/2)
Brisbane Broncos 16 (T: McCullough, Nikorima, Hoffman, Copely, G: Copley 0/4)
More to follow.
Team v Brisbane Broncos
1 – Adam Cuthbertson
2 – Jake Mamo
3 – Dane Gagai
5 – Akuila Uate
6 – Jarrod Mullen (c)
7 – Tyrone Roberts
11 – Beau Scott
12 – Robbie Rochow
15 – Alex McKinnon
4 – Joseph Leilua
8 – Willie Mason
9 – Adam Clydsdale
10 – Chris Houston
13 – Jeremy Smith
16 – Zane Tetevano