Brisbane holds firm as Newcastle falls apart

An under strength Brisbane Broncos have recorded their second win for 2007 at Energy Australia Stadium, defeating the Newcastle Knights by 20-16 in front of a bumper crowd.

Over 25,000 people turned out to officially farewell Andrew Johns and honour him by naming the new eastern stadium after him. But that was the only fun they had all evening as the Knights fumbled their way to a disappointing loss.

Perhaps the emotion surrounding the evening got to them, with lapses in concentration and periods of poor handling costing them dearly.

By contrast, Brisbane played a simple game, probably forced upon them due to an incredible injury toll prior to kick-off. Star centre Justin Hodges was out, along with Greg Eastwood and Shane Perry.

The game began with Australian forward Petero Civoniceva opening the scoring in the 4th minute. Some good lead-up work from Darren Lockyer and Tonie Carroll created space and the towering prop crashed over for the first of the night.

Then it appeared as though the game resumed its natural course, with Newcastle scoring back-to-back tries through Todd Polglase and Adam MacDougall. Both times they attacked the right hand side to good effect and lead 10-6 after 23 minutes.

But a bizarre ending to the first half saw Brisbane run 2 quick tries in to take the lead as an astonished Newcastle looked on.

Brent Tate