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.
Brisbane Broncos 18 Newcastle Knights 26
Venue: Lang Park
Halftime Score: Brisbane Broncos 14-6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Darius Boyd
2 points - Jarrod Mullen
1 point - Robbie Rochow
BRISBANE BRONCOS (18)
Tries: Corey Parker, Andrew McCullough, Corey Oates
Conversions: Scott Prince (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Scott Prince (1/1)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (26)
Tries: Joseph Leilua (2), Kurt Gidley, Darius Boyd (2)
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (1/1), Tyrone Roberts (2/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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