Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
14 hours ago
A 23,894 strong Hunter Stadium crowd came out to see their side overpowered by a dominant Broncos side who eventually claimed a 24 - 10 victory.
Both sides entered the game with injuries to key players, the Knights with a very late scratching of Ryan Stig's name off the team roster. And the injury situation continued throughout the match for the home side.
Brisbane had a particularly dominant first half, aided by some sloppiness from a walking wounded Newcastle side. It didn't take Brisbane long to open their account, Alex Glenn claiming first points in the fifth minute.
Brisbane were controlling the game, but after Cuthbertson appeared to have injured himself, Newcastle managed to catch the Brisbane side napping and claimed their first points in the 13th minute through Fijian flyer Akuila Uate, the difference then a Wallace conversion.
Brisbane then had several attacking opportunities, but last gasp defence from Newcastle prevented them each time, until veteran centre Justin Hodges put on a trademark move and strolled the through the Knights' defence to extend the Brisbane lead.
Newcastle began to fight valiantly in the closing minutes of the first half but could not do enough to add to their points column and went into the interval with a few injury concerns in the back line and a 12 points to 4 deficit.
The match was over for Wes Naiqama after he succumbed to a sickening knee injury in the first half, but Uate and Mullen who were hobbling in the first half fought through the pain to continue to fight for their team.
Brisbane continued to dominate proceedings in the second half, but a string of poor last tackle options prevented them from putting away a resilient Knights outfit. Brisbane having spent a substantial period failing to complete a set.
Growing in frustration, Corey Norman put through a daring kick into the corner for Jharal Yow Yeh but was dismayed to see the Flying Scotsman, James McManus scoop up the loose ball and race 100m to turn the game on it's head.
The 55th minute Newcastle try, however, only turned out to be a minor set back for the Broncos who finally crossed the line in the second half with a sharp backline play to Gerard Beale in the sixty forth minute.
Newcastle Knights 10 were defeated by Brisbane Broncos 24
National Rugby League - Round 3 - Friday March 16, 2012 8:45pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Gavin Morris
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Adam Reid and Dan Eastwood
Halftime: Newcastle Knights 4 Brisbane Broncos 12
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (10)
Tries: James McManus, Akuila Uate
Conversions: Wes Naiqama (0/1), Matt Hilder (1/1)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (24)
Tries: Justin Hodges, Matt Gillett, Alex Glenn, Gerard Beale
Conversions: Peter Wallace (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Peter Wallace (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Join the conversation - follow LeagueUnlimited on Twitter and tweet about the match using the Official Hashtag = #NRLnewbri.
You can also discuss the match with thousands of other fans in our Game Day Forums - click here. Good evening and welcome to Hunter Stadium, Newcastle for a showdown between the latest charges of Wayne Bennett; the Newcastle Knights and his former charges who he coached for over two decades; the Brisbane Broncos.
TEAM NEWS: The Brisbane Broncos are 1-17 as per program. For the Knights, Matt Hilder in jumper 14 replaces Ryan Stig at starting 5/8. and Marvin Filipo in jumper 19 is added to the bench.
The Brisbane Broncos are in their canary yellow strip, looks like that abomination may make several appearances this season.
1 min: Hoffman kicks off and Newcastle have first use of the football.
1 min: The first PENALTY of the night comes after 38 seconds and Newcastle are piggy-backed to halfway.
3 min: Hoffman diffuses the Newcastle opportunity and races to make the optional restart at the 20.
4 min: Forward pass from Danny Buderus and the Broncos are gifted an opportunity about 35 out.
6 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos!
Lovely ball movement from the Broncos and ball is given to Glenn who runs a smart line to collect four points. Wallace converts.
Brisbane Broncos 6-0
8 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Brisbane TRY.
8 min: NO TRY! Big let off for the Knights as replays show a Brisbane knock on.
9 min: Newcastle find their way back onto the knife edge, with an error inside their own ten.
11 min: PENALTY to Newcastle, for Brisbane players inside the ten.
12 min: Injury concern for Adam Cuthbertson.
14 min: TRY
TRY to the Knights!
Cuthbertson finds his way up and Newcastle shell shock the defence and put on a clever set play to put Uate over the line. Conversion attempt by Wes Naiqama unsuccessful.
Brisbane Broncos 6-4
16 min: The try really sparked some life into the Knights, who were looking particularly ordinary before they found their way onto the scoreboard.
18 min: Not quite sure what the problem is, but Uate appears to be coming off the field.
19 min: Mullen is hobbling around as well and Brisbane are awarded a PENALTY for a play the ball infringement 40 out from the Newcastle line.
20 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Brisbane TRY.
21 min: NO TRY. Defensive pressure helps create some separation to deny the try.
22 min: PENALTY against Wes Naiqama for a mid-air tackle on Hoffman and Naiqama appears to have injured his knee.
25 min: Newcastle lose the ball 35 out and they are all over the Knights who are hobbling all over the field.
26 min: Some desperate Newcastle defence forces a Broncos error on the Knights' line.
31 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos!
Hodges carves through the Newcastle line and races away to the try line. Conversion from Wallace successful.
Brisbane Broncos 12-4
33 min: PENALTY to Newcastle who find their first territory past halfway in some time.
34 min: And the Knights don't know what to do with the territory, so they give it back.
35 min: PENALTY to the Broncos, to help them into scoring range.
36 min: Chris Houston pounces onto a loose ball and streaks down the right side of the field before being chased down by Thaiday.
38 min: Zeb Taia on the left side almost mirrors his back row partner's streak down field but an easier defensive effort from the Broncos stops him.
40 min: The final 5 minutes of that half were all Newcastle, after Brisbane dominated the majority of the half and at the interval Brisbane lead 12 points to 4.
41 min: Second half under way.
43 min: Promising movement from the Knights is brought to a halt by an error.
45 min: Brisbane give the ball away ten out. Both teams squandering opportunities early.
46 min: Corey Norman finds his way straight throw the Newcastle line.
47 min: Brisbane squander another opportunity at the Newcastle line
48 min: And Newcastle offer them another one, gifting Brisbane a scrum 40 out from the Knights' line.
49 min: Brisbane hand the ball over a few metres out, yet again.
50 min: This time Brisbane give it away near halfway through an incorrect play the ball.
52 min: More possession being surrendered after a Hilder forward pass from dummy half.
56 min: TRY
TRY to the Knights!
Remarkable effort from James McManus who collects the ball on his own line and streaks 100 metres to score a try untouched. Hilder steps up to the kicking tee and the flags go up.
Brisbane Broncos 12-10
59 min: PENALTY to the Knights, against Wallace for a rake.
60 min: And Newcastle give it away first tackle.
62 min: Brisbane get a favourable completion to their set, perhaps their first of the half, earning a repeat by forcing a goal line drop out.
63 min: Brisbane give it away within ten of the try line, yet again.
66 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos!
A well constructed play from the very yellow Broncos and they create an overlap on the right flank which is finished off by Gerard Beale. Wallace misses a difficult shot at goal.
Brisbane Broncos 16-10
67 min: Once again, Brisbane give away possession close to the line.
71 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos!
Multiple line breaks and Matt Gillett finishes the try off beautifully, right between the uprights.Wallace collects the easy two points.
Brisbane Broncos 22-10
74 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY to the Broncos several metres out and Brisbane opt to take the two and Wallace collects them.
Brisbane Broncos 24-10
80 min: FULL TIME. Broncos have defeated the Knights 24 - 10.