The NYC Knights were unable to go four points clear at the top of the youth competition ladder on Saturday, losing 36-16 to the Brisbane Broncos at a wet Suncorp Stadium.
While the young Knights played with plenty of heart, they simply had no answers to the Broncos' sharp attack.
Consistent performers Jaelen Feeney, Bryce Donovan and Jah Pakau all returned from injury but the visitors were without Joseph Tapine and Sione Mata'utia due to NRL and Jake Mamo, who was rested.
Proceedings very nearly started in the worst way possible for the Knights, Feeney dropping the ball near the dead-ball line from the kick-off.
The Broncos were unable to capitalise on the mistake, Luke Yates doing well to power his way out of the in-goal area.
Another error came several minute later, as Jack Cogger fed the ball to Joe Boyce, only for the lock to knock-on with the try line in sight.
The mistake proved costly, as the Broncos forced their way back down the other end of the field and crossed over on the left flank through Paul Byrnes.
Duncan Paia'aua missed the conversion from an acute angle to keep the score at 4-0 with nine minutes gone.
The Broncos immediately continued their high-pressure game, playmaker Ashley Taylor producing a clever kick that led to Bryce Donovan being held up in the in-goal area.
From the line drop-out the Broncos produced a carbon copy of their first try, Cody Nicorima switching play out wide for Byrnes to plant down his second.
Paia'aua was successful with his second conversion, the ball bouncing in off the upright to make the score 10-0 with fifteen minutes gone.
The Knights were finding it hard to build their rhythm and the Broncos continued their string of attacking runs.
Feeney showed plenty of grit in defence, making a one-on-one tackle on Brandon McBryde that forced a knock-on but both were taken off for a concussion test.
The next five minutes were packed with errors from both sides, culminating in four uncompleted sets from the Broncos that led to a Knights try.
In a neat set-play Donovan fed the ball on to Chance Peni, the towering centre crashing over to score his 12th of the season. Donovan added the extras to make it 10-6 with eighteen minutes left to play in the first half.
The Broncos hit straight back via halfback Taylor darting through to flick on to charging front-rower Ajumn Adams. With Donovan closing in, Adams passed on to Byrnes, who crossed over for his third of the afternoon.
On the conversion Paia'aua hit the upright again, but the ball bounced out this time to leave the score at 14-6.
The Knights' woes continued soon after, Donovan and winger Braden Robson colliding under a high ball to gift the Broncos another try to second-rower Alex Barr.
Paia'aua again nailed the conversion, making the score 20-6 with four minutes to go in the first half.
Despite several more forays from the Broncos in the dying stages, the Knights held on until the siren sounded.
The start of the second half saw a much improved Knights side, 17-year-old halfback Jack Cogger producing an exquisite chip for Bradie Smith to score. Donovan added the extras, making it 20-12 with only three minutes gone in the second half.
The Knights were full of determined running now, and had brought some much needed composure to their defence as well.
The Broncos were irresistible though, and Taylor chipped strongly again for winger Jack Tuttle to scoop up and score. Paia'aua missed the conversion, leaving the score at 24-12 with thirty minutes to go.
Seven minutes later the Broncos looked sure to score again, only for Donovan to make an outstanding tackle and hold forward George Fai up over the line.
The Broncos weren't to be denied two minutes later, Taylor fashioning yet another fantastic kick to give Cody Nicorima a try under the uprights.
Paia'aua's conversion was accurate, and the Broncos now led 30-12 with twenty-one minutes to go.
The Knights seemed down and out, but Feeney dragged his team back into the game with a clever try from dummy-half in the 65th minute. Donovan was unable to add the extras, leaving the score at 30-16.
In the 77th minute however, the Broncos' Adams offloaded to Brandon Lee, who burst through the Knights' line to score. Taylor stepped up the for the kick and scored, giving the Broncos a 36-16 lead that they took to the full-time siren.
Newcastle Knights 16 (T: Peni, Smith, Feeney, G: Donovan 2/3)
Brisbane Broncos 36 (T: Byrnes 3, Barr, Tuttle, K Nikorima, Lee, G: Paia’aua 2/5, J Nikorima 1/1, Taylor 1/1)
Donovan, Robson, Smith, Peni, Birch, Feeney, Cogger, Pakau, Levi (c), Yates, Fitzgibbon, Pondekas, Boyce. Bench: De Saxe, Petterson-Robati, Taylor, Koopu.