A Jack Reed try either minute of halftime has helped Brisbane surge to a 31-18 NRL win over Newcastle at Hunter Stadium on Monday night.
Missing six players due to Origin duty, the baby Broncos appeared headed for a long night after a dominant Knights side cruised to an 18-6 lead in the 38th minute.
But a try to Reed on the final play of the first half, as well as the third tackle of the second, turned the match in Brisbane’s favour as the Knights were shutout for the final 50 minutes of the match.
Broncos centre Jordan Kahu broke into the backfield off upon resumption, with Reed crashing over for his second two plays later and then Andrew McCullough jumping out of dummy half to plant an easy go-ahead try not long after that.
The decisive five-minute period coincided with the absence of Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley, who failed to return from the sheds due to concussion.
A 40-metre try to Corey Oates in the 61st, a Kahu penalty goal in the 66th, and an Anthony Milford field goal in the 77th, sealed Brisbane’s eighth win of the season and restored their position to a share of the competition lead.
For the Knights, the loss was their sixth defeat in their past seven games.
Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford opened proceedings on a Reed offload in just the 4th minute, only for Newcastle’s Kade Snowden to execute a similar play for Chad Randell seven minutes later.
Dominant in possession and field position, Knights forward Korbin Sims seized the initiative by carrying four defenders over the line in the 18th before Joseph Leilua also made short work of a lazy defence by barging over one off the ruck.
But the visitors set up the comeback on the stroke of halftime when a Ben Hunt grubber popped up perfectly for Reed to keep them within striking distance at the main break.
Brisbane youngster Kodi Nikorima came off with a knee injury in the second half.