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"Photo: Paul Barkley / Melba Studios "

The NYC Newcastle Knights suffered a crushing 52-12 loss to the Brisbane Broncos at Hunter Stadium on Monday night.

The Knights were bolstered by the return of Dylan Phythian and Danny Levi from NSW Cup, but they were still unable to break their string of bad results against a Broncos side that sits at the top of the NYC ladder.

The home side lost the ball early on in their first set and paid the price by conceding a soft try to Broncos livewire half Jayden Nikorima. Fullback Paul Byrnes added the extras to give the away side a 6-0 lead with only three minutes played.

The Broncos came close again five minutes later, this time via winger Jack Tuttle. The Knights' left edge did well to usher him over the sideline though, and the right edge came up with some defensive steel of their own two minutes later to stop Will Brimson from crossing over following a line break.

There was no stopping the Broncos in the 15th minute though when hooker Jayden Berrell threw a dummy to get himself over the line. Byrnes again converted successfully to push the Broncos' lead to 12-0.

Despite most of the attacking play going against them, the Knights struck back five minutes later via Levi, who scurried over from dummy-half to bring his side back into the game. Brock Lamb added the extras to halve the Broncos lead.    

The Knights almost scored again in their next set when Fuaimamao Uta received the ball inches out from the touchline, but he was hauled out of play and the Broncos took full advantage by racing down the other end and scoring via Byrnes. The fullback added the two points to his own try to push the Broncos' lead back out to 18-6.

Five-eighth Nikorima was over for his second ten minutes later when he cut the Knights' defence to shreds with a clever run from twenty metres out. Byrnes again converted and the Broncos went into half time with a 24-6 lead.

The Broncos started the second half the way they started the first, forward Alex Barr breaking through the line to score beneath the uprights with only two minutes played. Byrnes converted from straight in front to push the score to 30-6.

Centre Jarryd Dodd blew the score out even more when he bustled over in the next set, and then
Brimson followed suit in the 52nd minute as the Broncos continued to exploit some poor defending on the Knights' left edge. Both times Byrnes duly converted to make the score 42-6.

Tensions boiled over seven minutes later when a fracas developed in the middle of the field. As a result the Knights' Daniel Saifiti and the Broncos' Keegan Hipgrave were sin-binned, and soon after interchange hooker Kalolo Saitua barged over from dummy-half.

Byrnes was next over in the 68th minute, but missed the conversion after nailing his last eight.

The Knights continued to fight hard, and with four minutes to play Lamb put the returned Daniel Saifiti through for a try beneath the uprights. Lamb converted to make the final score 52-12.


Newcastle Knights 12 (T: Levi, D Saifiti, G: Lamb 2/2)
Brisbane Broncos 52


Phythian, Uta, Birch, Robson, Tofilau, Lamb, Cogger, J Saifiti, Levi, D Saifiti, Smith, Yates (c), Faitotoa. Bench: McNamara, Stone, King, Apthorpe.