Newcastle Knights got themselves back in the win column after a comfortable 27-6 success against a downbeat Brisbane Broncos side tonight at Central Coast Stadium.
This contest wasn't a fair fight from the opening whistle. Newcastle rolled forward from the opening whistle, trampled Brisbane and rode their forward pack to two points. Tries in the first half to Kurt Mann and Hymel Hunt were puncuated by Mitch Pearce field goal on the siren for 13-6. Daniel Saifiti and Pearce crossed the stripe in the Novocastrian's fourth win this year.
The conditions were greasy in the opening exchanges, but the Knights settled first. They teased a breakthrough in the first ten then Kurt Mann swooped on a short ball for the opener followed by the five-eighth invented a kick for Hymel Hunt to cross untouched for 12-nil.
Daniel Saifiti has continued his purple patch since his Origin selection last year, munched through 226 metres and a four-pointer where he refused to go down under the pressure of a host of Broncos defenders. That was a worthy aligory for tonight's contest, the Knights moved forward and the Broncos were holding on for dear life.
Mitch Pearce was able to direct well behind the forwards, the former representative half, bagged himself a late four-pointer to blow out the scoreline to 27-6 but his kicking, passing and grunt work has helped to turn the fortunes of the Knights around in the last season-and-a half.
Where to next for the Broncos? Humbled at home, run down by the Sea Eagles then a limp effort tonight will have Anthony Seibold's seat almost charred. There was no direction, passion or effort throughout the players on field, as damningly, new recruit Issac Luke was a bright spot.
The return of Pangai Junior failed to inspire. The forward tried to spark the side with an early hit on David Klemmer but drifted in and out of the contest, much like the rest of his side. Xavier Coates showed some guile with an instinctual intercept to streak away at 12-6.
Much of the second half looked like a training run for the Knights. On a drier surface, the scoreline might have reflected the chasm between the sides better but after their first loss of the season last weekend, to Melbourne, it was a happier night for the Novacastrians.
Next week they head to Townsville on Saturday to face the Cowboys, while Brisbane host the Titans later that evening.