THE Brisbane Broncos ran roughshod over a battered and disjointed Newcastle Knights for a comprehensive 24-10 victory at Hunter Stadium last night.
A 99-metre try by Newcastle winger James McManus against the run of play, converted by Matt Hilder, trimmed Brisbane’s lead to 12-10 in the 55th minute.
McManus reeled in Corey Norman’s testing cross-field bomb one metre in front of Newcastle’s line and the Flying Scotsman streaked away from the Brisbane chasers to score, resuscitating a Newcastle team that until that point looked like they were on life support.
But late tries by Gerard Beale (64th minute) and Matt Gillett (70th minute) sealed the win for the visitors.
The Broncos dominated the first half to lead 12-4 at the break, and the wounded Knights were fortunate to be even that close.
Prop Adam Cuthbertson and centre Wes Naiqama suffered knee injuries in the first half and were replaced, and halfback Jarrod Mullen and winger Aku Uate stayed on the field but were both hobbling.
Mullen was favouring his left ankle after a heavy tackle in the 19th minute, and Uate was limping after defusing a bomb six minutes later.
The Knights were on the back foot after a forward dummy-half pass from Danny Buderus to Chris Houston in the fourth minute gifted the Broncos the ball from the subsequent scrum.
Before the end of the set, back-rower Alex Glenn beat attempted tackles by Houston, centre Wes Naiqama and fullback Darius Boyd to touch down, and Wallace converted for a 6-0 lead.
Boyd and Hilder, a late change at five-eigth for Ryan Stig, both lost the ball close to their own line in the eighth minute and the Knights had to defend desperately to avoid going further behind.
Cuthbertson received treatment after hyper-extending his right knee when tackled in the 12th minute, but the delay in play did the Knights no harm, as Uate crossed out wide after a backline movement from the play-the-ball.
Richie Fa’aoso spilled the ball close to the half-way line in the 29th minute, and Queensland and Australian centre Justin Hodges made him pay immediately. From the base of the subsequent scrum, Hodges took a pass, brushed Hilder aside, and loped 40 metres to score.
Wallace’s conversion extended Brisbane’s advantage to eight points.
BRONCOS 24 (A Glenn,
J Hodges, G Beale, M Gillett; P Wallace 4 goals) KNIGHTS 10
(A Uate, J McManus tries;
M Hilder goal) at Hunter Stadium. Referees: Shayne Hayne, Gavin Morris.