Defensive Effort Saves Knights

The Newcastle Knights have tonight run out winners over the Brisbane Broncos 26-18 at Suncorp Stadium.

The Broncos started strongly, almost blowing the Knights off the park early. Corey Parker crossed in the 9th minute, and then Andrew McCullough took advantage of some weak defense to score in the 13th minute.

When the Broncos got a penalty in the 14th minute, and kicked a penalty goal, the Broncos looked like they may run away with it. But that 14-0 deficit wasn't enough.

From that point, the Knights switched on their defense. At one stage in the first half, the Broncos forced almost six full sets in a row on attack, but the Knights managed to defend their line successfully.

Akuila Uate had a forgettable first half. He swooped on a loose ball in the 23rd minute, before sprinting almost 100 metres - to put the ball down for what seemed like a certain try. But the referee called it back to look at the grounding, and, amazingly, Uate had dropped the ball over the line with no one near him.

It got worse for Uate a few minutes later, when he knocked on a bomb he was attempting to defuse, giving the Broncos great field position.

But it was the Knights who finished the first half on the highest note, when BJ Leulia crossed for a try just before the break.

Trailing 14-6 at half time, the Knights came out strongly in the second half. The Broncos penalised themselves out of the game early in the half, with 5 penalties in quick succession eventually seeing Sam Thaiday sent to the bin.

Two minutes later the Knights took advantage, when Gidley dived over the line just left of the posts. Gidley injured his ankle in the process, and was stretchered from the ground and taken straight to hospital.

But his team carried on with the job, through a try to Boyd, and another try to Leulia.

Corey Oates scored with 8 minutes left, to set up a thrilling finish, but it was Darius Boyd who had the last laugh, scoring with only two minutes left in the game, to seal the win for his team.

The final score, Newcastle Knights 26, Brisbane Broncos 18.

That result effectively ends the season for the Broncos, who are no chance of making the finals. The Knights, on the other hand, will be buoyed by that win, and will head in to next weekends game with the Parramatta Eels confident of a semi-final berth.

Match Details
Brisbane Broncos 18 Newcastle Knights 26
Venue: Lang Park
Crowd: 27601
Halftime Score: Brisbane Broncos 14-6 Players of the Match:
3 points - Darius Boyd
2 points - Jarrod Mullen
1 point - Robbie Rochow

Tries: Corey Parker, Andrew McCullough, Corey Oates
Field Goals:
Conversions: Scott Prince (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Scott Prince (1/1)

Tries: Joseph Leilua (2), Kurt Gidley, Darius Boyd (2)
Field Goals:
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (1/1), Tyrone Roberts (2/4)
Penalty Goals: Live Commentary

TEAM NEWS - A single change for each side. Brisbane lose Jordan Kahu off the wing, with Lachlan Maranta replacing him. Newcastle have a swap - Kurt Gidley will start at half with Tyrone Roberts dropping back to the bench. Teamlists below:
Broncos: 1. Josh Hoffman 2. Corey Oates 3. Jack Reed 4. Alex Glenn 19. Lachlan Maranta 6. Scott Prince 7. Ben Hunt 8. Ben Hannant 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Josh McGuire 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker
Interchange: 14. Peter Wallace 15. David Stagg 16. Dunamis Lui 17. Lama Tasi

Knights: 1. Darius Boyd 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joey Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 14. Kurt Gidley 8. Zane Tetevano 9. Danny Buderus 10. Willie Mason 11. Robbie Rochow 12. Beau Scott 13. Alex McKinnon
Interchange: 7. Tyrone Roberts 15. Chris Houston 16. Neville Costigan 17. David Fa'alogo
Welcome to Suncorp Stadium tonight. Both clubs looking for a win to keep their season alive. The Knights currently sit in 7th place, with the Broncos just outside the 8. For the Knights, Willie Mason is back, walking into the spot left by the suspended Kade Snowden. Jarrod Mullen will be partnered in the halves tonight by Kurt Gidley, with Tyrone Roberts heading back to the bench - Coach Bennett putting it down to wanting Gidley's enthusiasm on the field in such a big game.
And the teams are on the ground now. Kurt Gidley leads out the Knights, and the Broncos follow out captain Sam Thaiday onto the field.
1 min: And we're underway, the Broncos kick off from the Southern end, and Tetevano is met in a heavy tackle straight up.
1 min: 5th tackle, and the knights are on the halfway line. Mullen kicks low, and Hoffman almost makes a break, but is dragged down by Beau Scott.
1 min: Parker is crunched by Robbie Rochow. Bum pats all around.
2 min: Not a great kick from the Broncos. Uate a bit lucky not to get penalised for a push, as he tried to clear the space under the ball. But Mullen comes up with it.
2 min: Again Mullen kicks low, looking to turn Hoffman around. Scott and McKinnon use him as a ragdoll, throwing him to the ground roughly.
3 min: Some strong defence from the Knights here, a better set - the Broncos kick on the fourth, and Boyd sprints the ball back straight into the defense.
3 min: A brilliant kick from Gidley, he toes it in behind the line and the winger has to play it over the touch in-goal. Line dropout to the Knights goes over 50m on the fly.
3 min: Mullen looking dangerous with every touch at the moment - 2 half breaks in as many touches, before turning the ball back inside to Willie Mason who goes within 1 metre. On the next play, Gidley tries to flick a miracle pass but it goes to ground.
5 min: Brisbane looking tired here. There are 8 men in a space not much bigger than a scrum. The Broncos then make a break down the right and kick back in field, but the kick is too deep, and Uate crashes it back into Hoffman.
5 min: Brisbane looking tired here. There are 8 men in a space not much bigger than a scrum. The Broncos then make a break down the right and kick back in field, but the kick is too deep, and Uate crashes it back into Hoffman.
6 min: Mullen again kicking low and hard to the back right corner - the winger almost makes a mess of it, but doesn't get a touch, and the ball trickles over the sideline.
6 min: First penalty of the night, against Zane Tetevano for interrupting the ruck. The Broncos find touch just over halfway.
8 min: The Knights are again penalised - this time it's Danny Buderus penalised for a strip. The Broncos take the tap from 15m out, right in front.
Scored by Corey Parker. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
Hunt runs himself out of space, and takes the tackle. McCullough then throws a short ball to Corey Parker, who runs right between the Knights defense and scores the try. McKinnon and Rochow forgot the fundamental rule of tackle the man with the ball. Prince adds the extras from straight in front.
Brisbane Broncos 6-0
11 min: The Knights return the ball from the kickoff. The Broncos are making good ground in this set, almost at halfway on the 4th. They then kick long on the 4th, and a solid chase sees McManus tackled only a few metres out from his line.
12 min: Gagai comes infield to take a hitup, but he isn't watching the ball, and knocks it on. The Broncos get good field position.
Scored by Andrew McCullough. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
Some flimsy defense from the Knights, again, and McCullough beats three defenders after throwing a dummy to crash over the line. Scott Prince lines up the kick from wide left, and puts it straight between the uprights.
Brisbane Broncos 12-0
14 min: Another penalty against the Knights. They're looking a mess at the moment.
Penalty goal attempt by Scott Prince successful.
And now it's a 4-0 penalty count, with Willie Mason penalised for dragging the player back down after the tackle was completed. The Broncos opt to take up the kick, and Scott Prince lines it up, from 20m out and just left of the posts. He takes the shot, and the lead is now 14.
Brisbane Broncos 14-0
18 min: From the kickoff, Willie Mason and Tetevano force Ben Hannant to drop the ball. McKinnon is lucky, because he came in with what looked like a lateish shoulder charge.
19 min: Newcastle need to score here - they're just metres out, and the Broncos get penalised for the first time tonight. Good opportunity for the Knights, and they need to make the most of it.
20 min: But they can't. The Knights had an overlap on the left side of the field, but Leilua puts the ball out over the sideline trying to force a pass. Major let off for the Broncos.
22 min: Broncos kick high, and Uate takes the ball just outside his in-goal area. He runs it back and almost makes a break, but is dragged down desperately. McManus makes a half break, but on the next play Faalongo makes a meal of it, knocking the ball on.
23 min: And now Uate almost scores a try against the run of play. The Broncos knock the ball on attempting to score, and Uate grabs the loose ball and runs 100 metres. But when he puts the ball down he knocks it on. The Video Ref gets involved and disallows the try. Uate is kicking himself, and the Knights fans are filthy.
25 min: The Knights working the ball out of their half now. Scott and Parker exchange a few words after the tackle. Corey Parker is penalised for a crusher tackle, and placed on report, but he's insistent that it was an accident.
25 min: The Knights only metres out now - heavily on attack. Mullen kicks behind the line, but Hoffman is all over it, and cleans it up just inside the field of play. The Knights are looking very impatient here.
27 min: Roberts is on the field now, playing in the hooker role. Kurt Gidley stays at halfback. In other news, Uate still hasn't raised his head after that dropped try attempt. He's looking very much like it has racked his confidence.
28 min: The Broncos defense is great tonight. Apart from that one run against the play, the Knights haven't looked dangerous for a while.
29 min: The Knights looking very tired here. David Fa'alogo gets hit in the chin by a high tackle. Lui is placed on report for the tackle, after Fa'alogo milks the penalty.
30 min: Knights needing to score here. They've got a fresh set of six from 20m out.
30 min: And Kurt Gidley loses the ball this time. A wayward pass goes to ground on the 3rd, and the Broncos get the ball back.
32 min: Uate's confidence is gone completely now. He stands underneath a bomb, Jack Reed puts pressure on, and Uate spills the ball. His head drops and the Broncos get the ball only 16m out.
32 min: A big defensive set needed here from the Knights. They manage to hold out the attackers, but Hunt kicks into the ingoal and chases his own kick. Some good positioning by Kurt Gidley sees him bat the ball over the dead ball line, and his team will take the goal line drop out.
34 min: The Broncos run the ball down the left side of the field, attempting to isolate Uate. He bats the ball down, and the Broncos eventually knock the ball on, but we're playing the first knock-on, and Brisbane will get the scrum feed.
36 min: The Broncos kick into the in goal on the last, and Mullen picks it up, but is dragged back into his in-goal by Gillette. Another goal-line dropout.
36 min: Mullen was injured in that tackle. He's cut the side of his head, and is bleeding from above his ear.
37 min: The Broncos attacking the line again, they have numbers out to the right, but the Knights are up to the task defensively. Prince kicks across field, and the ball comes off Oates' shoulder and we have a change over.
38 min: The Broncos have thrown about 6 sets at the Knights at once, but the defense was up to the task.
38 min: Mullen kicks high on the last, and Corey Oates loses the ball backwards, and forces the ball in-goal. The Broncos will drop the ball out, with just under 2 minutes remaining.
38 min: The dropout travels 55m this time.
39 min: Mullen throws the ball out the back to Boyd, who almost makes a break, but Hunt makes a try saving tackle.
Scored by Joseph Leilua. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful.
The Knights keep the ball alive, Roberts passes to Houston, who then hands it off to Robbie Rochow, who draws and passes and Leulia crosses in the corner. Gidley lines the ball up from just inside the left touchline, and he sends it straight between the posts.
Brisbane Broncos 14-6
40 min: An eight point margin at the break. The Knights were definitely the worse team for the entire first half - with some impressive defense keeping them in the game. The late try flattered them, as the Broncos were all over them for the whole 40 minutes.
41 min: We're back underway in the second half. The Knights kick off through Gidley, and the Broncos bring it out from their own line.
41 min: The Broncos kick on the 4th again, but McManus was ready for it. On the second tackle, Uate hits the ball up, and then gets rewarded with a penalty when the Broncos defender lays all over him. That should help his confidence.
42 min: Knights only 10 metres out now. A terrible pass from Gidley bounces and Rochow picks it up. Mullen kicks into the in goal, but Leulia stumbles and can't get to the ball.
43 min: Beau Scott gets penalised here now for a high tackle.
43 min: Broncos knock on - Ben Hunt drops the ball cold on attack - too busy looking at the defensive line.
45 min: The Knights have obviously been instructed to lay down whenever they get hit high. This time it's McManus, who gets a swinging arm in the chin, and stays down to milk the penalty.
45 min: Penalty count is evening up now, the Broncos penalised for laying around the play the ball. The Knights in good field position, and need to score.
46 min: And another penalty against the Broncos. The referee calls out Sam Thaiday and tells him to clean his team up around the ruck. The Knights have the ball from 3m out.
46 min: And now Thaiday has been sent for 10 in the bin. Thaiday laid all over the play the ball again - but Gagai did a great job to milk the penalty.
Scored by Kurt Gidley. Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts successful.
And Kurt Gidley is the player who finally capitalises. He steps back inside off his left foot, and crashes over the top of David Stagg. He injures his ankle badly in the process though and looks to be in a lot of pain. They've called for the stretcher - terrible luck for a player who has been plagued by injury this season. It looks like Stagg's entire body weight came down onto Gidley's ankle, and Gidley instantly knew there was a problem.
Brisbane Broncos 14-12
48 min: Leulia knocks on - as he stands up to play the ball he drops the ball cold. Brisbane have the ball 35m out.
51 min: The Knights looking a bit lose here at the moment - a couple of passes going wayward. Mullen kicks high on the last to Oates, who is up to the task.
53 min: Just a quick update, Kurt Gidley is getting taken straight to hospital
53 min: Knights hot on attack, but the ball is knocked on from Gagai, and the pressure is off the Broncos. They are looking very impatient when they get within the Broncos red zone.
55 min: Brisbane looking to play quickly now, but we have a player down in back play. David Fa'alogo hits a McCullough late with a shoulder charge, and he's been placed on report and penalised.
55 min: The Broncos get a break with that penalty, getting piggybacked out of their own half.
56 min: And now Mason is penalised for laying on top of Parker in the tackle. The Broncos opt to take the tap.
57 min: Brilliant defense from the Knights sees the Broncos come up unrewarded after that set. They knock on on the last tackle. Sam Thaiday is back on the field.
57 min: The Broncos are getting very quick line speed off their own line.
58 min: Mullen kicks from within his own half, but a solid chase sees him tackled in his in-goal. Great defense from the Knights.
59 min: A short dropout from the Broncos, travelling only 35 metres. The Knights in good field position now, and wanting to recover that 2 points.
60 min:
And the Knights hit the lead for the first time in this game. Mullen called the ball right, but Boyd took it left and sliced between Thaiday and Glenn to score the try. A tough kick for Roberts, from the left sideline, and he sends it just right of the uprights.
Newcastle Knights 16-14
62 min: Still a 2 point ball game. The Knights look on top at the moment, making good metres in their first set after the try. Mullen kicks low, and Maranta almost buggers it up, but the referee rules the ball to have gone backwards.
65 min: A big run from Mason, fighting through three defenders, and carrying them for almost 10 metres. Mullen kicks into the in-goal, but Hoffman brings it back into the field of play. The Broncos then get a penalty, and a bit of an easier time coming out of their half.
65 min: The Broncos kick on the 4th again, looking to catch the Knights back three napping. Boyd looks to be trapped in his in-goal, but turns on a burst of speed and makes 15 metres.
Scored by Joseph Leilua. Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts successful.
Some expansive play from the Knights, sending the ball from right to left. Rochow drew 2 men, and passed, and saw Leulia sprint away down the sideline. Hoffman came in to make the tackle, but Leulia sold him a massive dummy and sprinted over to score. Roberts adds the extras from just left of the posts, and the Knights extend their lead.
Newcastle Knights 22-14
68 min: McGuire kicks on the last after he finds himself with the ball on tackle 5. It looks to be club footed and way too big, but it bounces back into the field and forces Boyd to play at it. Boyd dives out of his in goal area... just.
Scored by Corey Oates. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful.
And now Oates sprints down the sideline and makes a clean break, sprinting past Uate, and Boyd to score in the corner. Prince hooks it left, and it's no goal.
Newcastle Knights 22-18
72 min: McCullough's turn to milk a high tackle now, but Houston is in the clear - there was nothing wrong with the tackle. Just a heavy hit from a big man.
73 min: Hoffman knocks on, as Beau Scott knocks the stuffing out of a Broncos attacker, and the Knights gather the ball.
74 min: McCullough is off the field now with a crook shoulder.
75 min: Mullen dribbles the ball into the in-goal, and Hoffman dives on it and gets tackled in goal. The pressure is on the Broncos, as they kick short, and McManus takes it from 20 metres out.
75 min: Last tackle, and Leulia takes the ball and dies with it. The Knights seemed to get the tackle count wrong, as Mullen came in screaming for the ball on what would have been tackle 7.
76 min: The Broncos make a mistake here now, throwing a forward pass directly to James McManus.
78 min:
And Brisbane look to be out of the semis for 2013, as Darius Boyd takes the ball and slides over the line on the left of the field. Roberts set up a nice dummy to Willie Mason, before Boyd runs a great line between two players to score the try. Roberts kicks from the left side of the field, and pushes it out to the right of the posts.
Newcastle Knights 26-18
79 min: Short kickoff from the Broncos, it's a bit ugly, almost going out over the sideline, before Tyrone Roberts knocks the ball on. If he'd picked the ball up cleanly he would probably have streaked away to score.
80 min: Full time - the Knights come away winners, 26-18. For the Knights, Darius Boyd probably had the most involvement he has had all season. Leulia was strong every time he ran the ball, and Mullen was again involved with everything. Robbie Rochow also had some touches of brilliance. The Broncos were the better team for much of the game, but seemed to penalise themselves out of the game early in the second half, culminating in captain Sam Thaiday being sent to the bin. The Knights will go to Parramatta Stadium next weekend, confident in their chances of making the finals, while for the Broncos, that looks to be the end of season 2013.