The NYC Newcastle Knights’ season has come to a close, as they were defeated 30-26 by the Brisbane Broncos in their elimination final on Friday night.
While it was a disappointing end to 2017 for the Club’s Under 20s, they showed plenty of determination to come from 20 points down to make it a nervy finish.
The two sides were evenly matched in the early exchanges, with Heath Gibbs nearly forcing his way over in the fifth minute.
16 minutes in the red and blues were dealt a blow as starting dummy-half Nash Birch was forced from the field with a leg injury, and Luke Huth took his place.
It wasn’t until the 23rd minute that first points were scored, and unfortunately for the Knights it was the Broncos’ Sam Elliott that went over next to the posts. Kontoni Staggs converted, but the Knights returned serve two minutes later.
It was an individual piece of brilliance from Gibbs, who brushed off two tackles to score. Kurtis Dark couldn’t quite convert though, leaving the score at 6-4.
The game was starting to open up, and with 32 minutes played Elliott grabbed his second on the back of a penalty deep in Knights territory. Staggs converted to push the score to 12-4, and then six minutes later Elliott made it a hat trick as he collected an offload and strolled over.
With half time score 20-4 the young Knights really need to score first after the break, but it was the Broncos that got more points, this time via Haydyn O’Hara in the right corner.
At 24-4 the Knights hadn’t given up though, and two minutes later halfback Hayden Loughrey came up with some individual brilliance to run and grubber for Kainoa Gudgeon to score in the corner. Dark did well to convert from the sideline, and it was 24-10.
The Knights were building some momentum now, and in the 63rd minute Huth played a stunning pass to put Gibbs through for his second. Dark converted, and the Knights continued their roll five minutes later when Brayden Musgrove ran over.
The score was 24-22 and a comeback win looked on the cards, but all momentum was lost in the next set when prop Cameron King was carried out of touch near the halfway line. The Broncos jumped on the opportunity and Joshua Fauide scored to make it 30-22.
The Novocastrians refused to give up though, and with five minutes left on the clock a slick backline play saw Cory Denniss cross over in the corner. Dark couldn’t convert from the sideline this time, and the final score was 30-26.
Knights 26 (T: Gibbs 2, Gudgeon, Musgrove, Denniss, G: Dark 3/6)