The Brisbane Broncos have remained in touch at the top of the NRL Ladder, today disposing of the Newcastle Knights comfortably and keeping touch with the Sydney Roosters as the form team of this years premiership. Hooker Michael Ennis a stand-out for the Broncos along with Dave Taylor in their strong win away from home.
Michael Ennis grabbed two tries and potted seven goals as the Broncos got over the Knights 34-22 in Newcastle. Ennis crossed twice midway through the opening half as the Broncos took full advantage of a strong southerly breeze at their backs to lead 26-8 at the break.
The Knights rallied in the second half with Kurt Gidley and Cory Paterson both crossing to complete try-scoring doubles and pull Newcastle within 10 points before Broncos skipper Justin Hodges grabbed a 30-metre intercept try for his second of the day in the 68th minute to secure the win.
Knights backrower Chris Houston scored a late consolation try in the 77th minute as both sides finished with five tries for the afternoon.
On a day when four players grabbed try-scoring doubles, former Newcastle junior Ennis stood above the pack.
He completed a strong Dave Taylor bust to run over in the 25th minute and then won the battle to catch Peter Wallace’s midfield bomb and score his second try in the 36th minute.
Either side of his tries were dummy-half breaks, and his goal kicking proved a huge difference, converting each of the Broncos five tries and adding two penalty goals while Gidley raised the flags on just one of five conversion attempts.
Broncos full-back Karmichael Hunt also stood out with a superb individual try just prior to half-time as he dummied through the line and then past Knights counterpart Gidley for a 50-metre try.
Ennis was everywhere in the first half after he made a midfield break in the sixth minute and looked to put Tonie Carroll on his way until Scott Dureau dragged the big lock down a few metres from the line.
But the Broncos swung the ball wide and Hodges hit the line hard to score.
The Knights struck back with Gidley scoring from an attacking scrum 10 metres out as he ran around Hodges and the Broncos defence to score in the corner.
Hodges was caught out again six minutes later, rushing out of the line as Knights hooker Danny Buderus threw the ball to Paterson to cross, but Gidley again missed the near sideline attempt and Newcastle led 8-6.
The Knights’ loss may come at further cost with half-back Dureau limping off with ankle ligament damage midway through the second half. To their credit, the rebuilding Knights were competitive and had their chances at various stages – standing up to the fancied Broncos, the Novacastrians will certainly be Top 8 chances if they can repeat this form consistently.