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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
The Newcastle Knights have bounced back with a 26-12 win over the Brisbane Broncos in a match played before 24,397 supporters at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Getting out to an 18-0 halftime lead, the Knights appeared to capitulate early in the second half with poor discipline, a sin binning and twice failing to find touch allowing the visitors back into the match, before steadying their way to victory courtesy of a Mason Lino four-pointer.
Coming into the match following a dismal showing in Melbourne prior to the representative round, the Knights started in fine form to open the scoring after a well-timed pass from replacement fullback Kurt Mann sent Edrick Lee over in the ninth minute.
Playing with the intensity that saw the side record six wins on the trot earlier in the season, Newcastle doubled their lead through Lachlan Fitzgibbon (18th minute) following a superb offload from Queensland forward Tim Glasby in the lead up.
Repelling a number of attacking raids brought on by a 9-4 first half penalty count in Brisbane's favour, Lino - brought into the side for Kalyn Ponga - delivered a superb cut-out pass for Shaun Kenny-Dowall (25th minute) to score his fourth try of the year.
Coming close to posting more points only for Kenny-Dowall to be pulled up for an obstruction, the Knights took an 18-0 lead into the change of ends - the fourth time this season they have held an opponent scoreless over the opening 40 minutes.
Needing to be first to score after halftime, the Broncos enjoyed the perfect start as Jamie Buhrer knocked on from the kick-off, before James Gavet was controversially sent to the sin bin for repeat infringements.
Wasting little time in capitalising upon the one-man advantage, Thomas Flegler (42nd minute) crashed over for his first try in the NRL to reduce the scoreline to 18-6.
Taking the score out beyond two converted tries with a Lino penalty goal after the Broncos allowed the line drop out shot clock to expire, Kotoni Staggs (60th minute) struck back on the hour mark to set up a close finish.
Managing to withstand 44 tackles inside their own 20 metre zone over the course of the match, the Knights secured the 26-12 result with Lino scoring his first try in red and blue colours following tremendous footwork from Jesse Ramien in the lead up.
Next week during the Origin-affected round, the Knights host the Warriors on Saturday night, while the Broncos face the Sharks on the road on Sunday afternoon.
Newcastle Knights 26 - Brisbane Broncos 12
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 18 Brisbane Broncos 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - David Klemmer
2 points - Matthew Lodge
1 points - Mason Lino
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (26)
Tries: Edrick Lee, Mason Lino, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Field Goals: Mitchell Pearce (0/1)
Conversions: Mason Lino (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Mason Lino (1/1)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (12)
Tries: Thomas Flegler, Kotoni Staggs
Conversions: Kotoni Staggs (2/2)