Hours before kick off, the Brisbane Broncos lost their leader and general in Adam Reynolds for their clash against the Newcastle Knights which meant young gun Ezra Mam was set to make his debut in the halves.

Kalyn Ponga looked to make things worse for the Broncos running 60 meters with his first carry of the football to give the Knights an ideal start to the game but an error in good field position from Tyson Frizell let Brisbane off the hook.

It didn’t take Frizell long to make amends for his earlier mistake thanks to a well-placed grubber kick from Adam Clune that deflected off a Brisbane player straight into the hands of Frizell who pounced on the loose ball to give his team first points.

Newcastle looked confident and energetic on the back of their drought breaking win last week; running hard and making easy metres through the middle of the field and again finding themselves in attacking field position.

Ponga caught the Brisbane defence back peddling and made it easy for Lachlan Fitzgibbon to crash over one pass of the ruck.

However, replays suggest Fitzgibbon failed to ground the ball.

Despite not looking in the contest, Brisbane were only six points down thanks to some missed opportunities from Newcastle.

They soon found themselves well and truly in the game when Billy Walters beat a couple of soft Knights defenders to level the scores.

The story of the first half continued with the Knights dominating territory and attack opportunities but failed to convert these into points which ultimately proved costly.

Dane Gagai looked like he had scored in the corner off the back of Anthony Milford brilliance but was controversially ruled to have lost possession before grounding the ball.

The teams appeared to have switched jerseys at the half time break, with Brisbane having all the ascendancy, making metres at will and able to create their first opportunity early in the second half.

A flat short ball from Gamble reminiscent of his skipper Reynolds, found Riki, who strolled past a couple of would-be defenders to give Brisbane a surprising lead.

Newcastle were able to hit back swiftly thanks to a beautiful inside ball from Mat Croker which found Ponga bursting through a whole in the middle of the defensive line to sprint 50 meters and score under the posts.

But unfortunately for Newcastle fans, that was there the points ended for the home team with Broncos running in four unanswered tries highlighted by a bit of Selwyn Cobbo brilliance who again pressed his claims for an Origin debut.

Extremely positive signs for Kevin Walters with his team showing a huge strength of character and desire to win despite not being at their best and without their leader Reynolds.

For the Knights, they will rue their golden chances in the first half to blow the game out.

Knights coach Adam O’Brien admits anxiety is finding its way into his teams’ performances and he knows that needs rectifying.

We’re in a state of a bit of performance anxiety at the moment,” O’Brien said.

“I thought [Anthony Milford] had some good touches early and then he’d like some stuff back in the second half. It’s probably a reflection of the whole team.”

After some lean years and games, Broncos coach Kevin Walters believes his side has bucked the trend and are now on the upward spiral.

“I’m particularly happy for the playing group and everyone involved at the club because there have been some tough days and tough years,” Walters said.

“We seem to be getting in front of the curve now which is really good.

Brisbane Broncos 36 (Walters, Riki, Farnworth, Cobbo 2; Goals: Staggs 6/7) def. Newcastle Knights 12 (Frizell, Ponga; Goals: Ponga 2/2)

NRL News Player of the Game:

3. Selwyn Cobbo (BRI)

2. Cory Paix (BRI)

1. Patrick Carrigan (BRI)

Brisbane Broncos utility Cory Paix

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