In the first win over the Broncos at home since 2010, the nib Newcastle Knights had to grind out a 15-10 win over the Brisbane Broncos at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday evening.
It was a tense first half as defence was solid from both sides but some brilliance from Kalyn Ponga and 81 per cent completion rate kept he Broncos scoreless into the break, and despite a couple of tries from the visitors in the second stanza, the Knights held them off for a thrilling five-point win.
The Knights kicked it off with some defensive hard hitting and not before long, the home side was awarded a penalty 10 metres out, thanks to an off-side call.
A whipping Ponga pass nicked the hands of a Broncos player and guided Shaun Kenny-Dowall over the line, but the referee pulled it back and deemed it a forward pass.
Lucky for the Knights Ponga ran down a quick break by Kodi Nikorima to save a try and Newcastle were constantly under the pump with several repeated sets adding plenty of pressure in 15 minutes of play.
18 minutes in, Kenny-Dowall took a clean intercept to get the ball back into Knights hands but Newcastle still couldn’t take it to the line with Broncos defence staying solid.
Minutes later Brisbane coffed up the ball with a loose carry and it was end to end football for a solid 10 minutes before Lachlan Fitzgibbon finally found some space.
In the 31st minute the forward charged through and crossed over for the first points of the evening and his third try for the season.
Ponga nailed the conversion for the Knights to take the lead, 6-0.
With seconds to go before the halftime siren, strategically the Knights landed the ball into the hands of Mitchell Pearce who kicked the field goal to see the Knight take a 7-0 lead.
That kept the Broncos scoreless in the first half, the first time since Round 12 last year.
In the second half, a knock on from Brisbane’s Matt Gillett gifted the ball to the Knights early on before Newcastle got a repeated set off a precision grubber from Pearce.
55 minutes in, Pearce with the assist 10 metres out to big man Daniel Saifiti who knew what to do and muscled his way over for the try. Ponga added the extras to extend the Knights lead, 13-0.
Finally, the Broncos got on the board in the 59thminute, via Corey Oates with a leaping try in the left corner. Jamayne Isaako couldn’t convert from the sideline and it was still the Knights, 13-4.
Minutes later, in his 50th NRL appearance, Danny Levi tried to barge through a wall of Broncos, but he was held up across the line, before a penalty 10 metres out saw Ponga take the kick to boot the two points and push the score line out to 15-4
A dangerous lift on Nathan Ross saw the Knights get within 30 metres of the line but down the other end a wall red and blue wall couldn’t stop a charging Anthony Milford who went to the line with seven minutes on the clock. It then became a 15-10 ball game.
And despite a few tense moments, the Knights held off the visitors to claim their third victory of the season, 15-10 against the Broncos.
Knights. 15 (T: Fitzgibbon, D. Saifiti G: Ponga 2/2, FG: Pearce 1/1, PG: Ponga 1/1)
Broncos 10 (T: Oates, Milford G: Isaako 1/2)