Brisbane Broncos repelled a spirited challenge from Newcastle Knights today at McDonald Jones Stadium to maintain their challenge in the top eight of the NRL ladder.
The Knights made several late changes to their side, with Jamie Buhrer, Jacob Saifiti and Joe Wardle joining the starting side. Daniel Saifiti, Danny Levi and Lachlan Fitzgibbon dropped back to the bench, while Luke Yates was not in the 17 and Mickey Paea joined the bench.
The Broncos gave a debut to Jamayne Isaako at fullback, with Jordan Kahu moving to the wing. Anthony Milford returned at stand-off with Benji Marshall dropping to the bench. Coach Wayne Bennett rested Queensland Origin stars Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire and selected Alex Glenn in the back-row and Jai Arrow at loose forward. Jaydn Su’A joined the bench with Kodi Nikorima out of the side.
The Knights led 12-6 at half-time after the Broncos had taken the lead with a Jordan Kahu try on 26 minutes with Trent Hodkinson, who has been linked with a move to Super League, sending Sione Mata’utia over for their opening try before Danny Levi’s try next to the posts saw them take the lead.
The Broncos hit back in the second half, however, with three quick tries in the first ten minutes to James Roberts, Tautau Moga and Anthony Milford, all converted by Kahu to put them 12-24 ahead.
Chanel Mata’utia reduced the gap to six points before Origin hero Dane Gagai scored the Knights’ fourth, which Hodkinson couldn’t convert, making the score 22-24 on 63 minutes.
The Broncos sealed the game in the final ten minutes, however, with two tries from Korbin Sims and winger Jonus Pearson, with Kahu adding one conversion to make the final score 22-34.
Knights: 1 Nathan Ross, 2 Chanel Mata’utia, 3 Dane Gagai, 4 Peter Mata’utia, 5 Brendan Elliot, 6 Brock Lamb, 7 Trent Hodkinson, 17 Jacob Saifiti, 14 Jamie Buhrer (c), 10 Josh King, 11 Sione Mata’utia (c), 16 Joe Wardle, 13 Mitchell Barnett; Interchange: 8 Daniel Saifiti, 9 Danny Levi, 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 21 Mickey Paea
Tries: S Mata’utia, Levi, C Mata’utia, Gagai; Goals: Hopkinson 3
Broncos: 2 Jamayne Isaako, 1 Jordan Kahu, 3 James Roberts, 4 Tautau Moga, 5 Jonus Pearson, 21 Anthony Milford, 7 Ben Hunt, 8 Korbin Sims, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Adam Blair (c), 11 Sam Thaiday, 14 Alex Glenn, 19 Jai Arrow; Interchange: 6 Benji Marshall, 15 Tevita Pangai Junior, 16 Joe Ofahengaue, 20 Jaydn Su’A.
Tries: Kahu, Roberts, Moga, Milford, Sims, Pearson; Goals: Kahu 5
Monday’s edition of League Express, available in the shops or online, will feature full coverage of all the weekend’s NRL matches.