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A second half blitz led by Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best has helped guide the Knights to an impressive 46-26 win over the Titans at McDonald Jones Stadium. 

Ponga, playing in his first game at McDonald Jones Stadium since July last year, responded to criticism received last month with a try and two try assists as the Knights ran in four tries in 15 minutes to blow the Titans away.

The Knights trailed 12-6 before half-time until Ponga sprung to life and placed a kick for Tyson Frizell to cross. He then linked with Bradman Best on the left edge for a 22-18 lead and then broke through himself for the side's fifth of the afternoon.

"To play at home like that after the last 7-8 months, it hasn't been all sunshine and roses the last eight months, so to put in a performance like that in front of a crowd I haven't played in front of for a long time... I am happy," Ponga said.

"I have to back it up and be consistent and that's something I needed to do for the rest of the year and something I haven't done for the last couple of years... it's just one performance."

Kalyn Ponga very special try

A try to Dane Gagai shortly after Ponga's effort set up a 16-point advantage before David Fifita, who scored a double in the high-scoring clash, ran the length of the field to narrow the gap late. 

Best, who came under first for a mid-season trip to Bali during the side’s bye week, had an unfortunate start to the game when he allowed the ball to bounce from the kick-off. He had the final say throughout the afternoon, however.

Kalyn Ponga has the skills

The Knights weren’t made to pay for the early error and managed enough field position early to enable Jackson Hastings to place a kick for a leaping Dominic Young to collect and plant the ball down nicely.

A penalty goal to the home side put them 6-0 in front but their lead quickly evaporated with two tries in four minutes to Queensland Origin hopefuls Fifita and Phil Sami.

Fifita made the Knights defensive line look non-existent when he finished off a Kieran Foran pass on the inside before Sami outleaped former teammate Greg Marzhew in the air for the visitors' second.

David Fifita shows some real speed

Despite a try after the break through Jayden Campbell, it was all the Knights in the second half as Ponga and Best worked their magic down the left channel.

The Titans appeared to have the final say through Alofiana Khan-Pereira on the left edge until an intercept try to Young, who ran 95 metres for the Knights' sixth try of the second half on the siren, ended a fortnight of scrutiny for the club.

Match snapshot

  • Both sides traded two tries each in the first half for a 12-12 scoreline before 48 points were scored in the second half.
  • The Knights piled on 46 points - their biggest total in a match in a decade with a massive second half performance. 
  • Gold Coast missed 48 tackles in the loss, conceding six tries in the final 30 minutes of the match. 
  • Kalyn Ponga responded to a lacklustre performance against the Eels last month with a try and two try assists in the victory. 
  • Knights forward Tyson Frizell was placed on report for a third-man in tackle on Titans prop Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
  • David Fifita has now scored seven tries in six games against the Knights after a double on Sunday. Fifita was again a shining light for the Titans with a double and 222 metres in the loss.
  • Greg Marzhew enjoyed a fun afternoon against his former club with a try and 12 tackle busts.
  • Dominic Young has now scored six tries in three games against the Titans.
  • Alofiana Khan-Pereira has now scored 12 tries from his first 10 NRL games.
  • The Knights have now won their past five games against the Titans at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Play of the game

There were plenty of impressive tries scored on Sunday afternoon with Dom Young's first of the afternoon and Greg Marzhew's powerplay move in the second half. But, Ponga and Best linking in the second half broke the spirits for the Titans and quickly turned momentum Newcastle's way.

Kalyn Ponga provides for Best

What they Said

"That's exactly what we needed to do. We needed to start the game with a bit of intent and making sure we respond and not put in back-to-back bad performances in so I'm pleased. Majority of our focus was on our defence. The scoreboard suggests we had some moments and we did but across the moments there were some good periods of defence. When Kalyn hit the go button in the second half he showed he's elite. It was way too premature for people to comment given the sample size this year. He knows he's got to work hard again next week and replicate it." - Knights coach Adam O'Brien

Knights: Round 11

"I thought we just made too many errors. We had a couple of good wins and had to stand up today and couldn't do it. The second half we conceded some soft tries and got what we deserved. It's back to the drawing board. We've had plenty of improvement this year but it came crashing back today. It's hard for all of us but we've got to be accountable for what happened out there." - Titans coach Justin Holbrook

Titans: Round 11

What's Next

Both sides will hit the road in Round 12 for away clashes with the Knights travelling north to take on the Sharks in Coffs Harbour while the Titans will head to Sydney for a match against the Bulldogs. Erin Clark (finger) is likely to return for the Titans.