FIVE days after being battered and bruised by the competition favourites the Roosters, the Newcastle Knights had to put in overtime tonight at Hunter Stadium but them and the Broncos couldn't be separated as they fought out an enthralling 18-all draw.
"They did what you want your football team to do, and that’s not to give up and keep at it. As far as I’m concerned, that one point for us, with the position we’re in, is as good as win," Knights coach Wayne Bennett said after the game.
The home side outscored the visitors four tries to three but it was goalkicking that ultimately brought them undone with just the one success as coach Wayne Bennett took halfback and first-choice goalkicker Tyrone Roberts off for the final 10 minutes.
"Who knows if we'd have been there (in that same position) if he was on the field. Who knows?
"I've got no regrets about that. We had a game to win and you've got to interchange players and you've got to get in your head what's going to work for you and I could see them trying their hearts out. That's what you've got to do as a coach - support them as much as you can.
"Goalkicks become irrelevant if you don't score the tries."
With Roberts off the field, Craig Gower lined up the conversion from the sideline, but his attempt fell well short as the siren sounded in the background.
The Knights opened the scoring after just four minutes through promising front rower Zane Tetevano. Kevin Naiqama charged down the sideline in the previous play with some enterprising football down the left side. Joey Leilua drew Lachlan Maranta before Naiqama went on a saloon passage down the sideline. With the Broncos defence retreating, five-eighth Jarrod Mullen grubbered across his body in behind the line and Tetevano won the race to the ball.
From then it was all the Broncos with possession evening up and the Knights missed tackle count increasing at an alarming pace.
Justin Hodges took advantage of a glut of possession for the visitors in the 13th minute when he beat Tyrone Roberts on the outside and after Scott Prince’s successful conversion the scores were level. The Broncos continued to turn the screws for the remainder of the half with halfback Ben Hunt outstanding.
Four minutes before the break Corey Parker ran a perfect outside-in line off another perfect Ben Hunt pass. After carrying a knock for the majority of the first half, Beau Scott couldn’t quite get across to cover the hole in the defensive line and Parker went straight through. Darius Boyd attempted to hold the Queensland representative up but Parker spun out of the tackle to score alongside the posts. Prince added the extras to give his side a six-point buffer after 40 minutes.
Joey Leilua scored for the Knights 15 minutes into the second stanza to give his side some hope and get the home crowd involved before Josh McGuire extended the Broncos lead with a barnstorming run minutes later. As Beau Scott attempted to pull him to the ground, the Broncos front rower pushed him aside before firing a pass to centre Jack Reed to cross out wide. Prince's conversion put his side out by more than a converted try before the Knights came storming home.
A Jarrod Mullen field goal attempt was charged down in the 85th minute and despite being in front of the posts in perfect position for another attempt on tackle three from the ensuing set the Knights inexplicably didn't take the chance and tried to win the match with a try.
Further unsuccessful field goal attempts from Mullen, Broncos halfback Ben Hunt and Peter Wallace ensured both sides shared the points.
Next week the Knights travel to Remondis Stadium on Saturday to clash with the Sharks while the Broncos tackle the Dragons next Sunday at Suncorp.
Newcastle Knights 18 Brisbane Broncos 18
Venue: Newcastle International Sports Centre
Halftime Score: Brisbane Broncos 12-6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jarrod Mullen
2 points - Ben Hunt
1 point - Akuila Uate
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (18)
Tries: Zane Tetevano, Joseph Leilua, Beau Scott, Akuila Uate
Field Goals: Jarrod Mullen (0/3)
Conversions: Tyrone Roberts (1/2), Craig Gower (0/2)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (18)
Tries: Justin Hodges, Corey Parker, Jack Reed
Field Goals: Ben Hunt (0/1), Peter Wallace (0/1)
Conversions: Scott Prince (3/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Knights: 1. Darius Boyd 19. Kevin Naiqama 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6, Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. David Fa'alogo 9. Danny Buderus 10. Zane Tetevano 11. Robbie Rochow 12. Beau Scott 13. Jeremy Smith
Interchange: 14. Craig Gower 15. Chris Houston 16. Neville Costigan 17. Adam Cuthbertson 18. Korbin Sims
Broncos: 1. Josh Hoffman 2. Corey Oates 18. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Scott Prince 7. Ben Hunt 8. Mitchell Dodds 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Josh McGuire 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker
Interchange: 3. David Stagg 14. Peter Wallace 15. Dunamis Lui 20. Ben Hannant
Friday night footy comes to you live from Newcastle tonight for the all-important Round 21 encounter between the home side and Brisbane. The Broncos returned to the winner's list last week with a hard-fought 18-16 win in Townsville, while the Knights pushed the Roosters for 70 minutes before succumbing 28-12. Both sides can ill-afford a loss at this point in the season with a logjam at the bottom of the eight on the competition ladder.
We'll have team news as it comes to hand with Knights winger James McManus expected to be ruled out. For the Broncos, Jack Reed and Ben Hannant are expected to be late additions.
Jarrod Mullen has won the toss and the Knights will defend the southern end or right hand side of your computer monitor. The Broncos will kick off.
TEAM NEWS: James McManus out for the Knights - he'll be replaced on the left wing by Kevin Naiqama. Still awaiting confirmation from the Broncos.
TEAM NEWS: Jack Reed and Ben Hannant return to the Broncos side. David Stagg drops back to the bench. Lama Tasi and Nick Slyney are omitted from Anthony Griffin's 17.
Fulltime in the Holden Cup curtain-raiser and the Knights have run out big winners, with a 52-10 belting of the Broncos. First grade scheduled to kick off in about half an hour.
We'll have a moment's silence for the passing of Graham Murray.
1 min: Corey Parker gets us underway!
1 min: Kick from Mullen bounces off the legs of Hoffman and the Broncos have possession.
2 min: Prince finds Boyd on the full and he's tackled on the 20m line.
3 min: Great play from the Knights down the left side and Naiqama is tackled.
4 min: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Zane Tetevano. Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts successful.
Tetevano scores first points for the home side! Off the back of the quick play-the-ball from Naiqama, Mullen cleverly grubbered in behind the retreating defensive line and the big prop won the race to the ball to cross alongside the posts. Roberts adds the extras.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
5 min: Beau Scott signals to the bench in back play.
6 min: Roberts kicks back to the middle of the park and Oates is tackled before Reed ends up on his back too.
7 min: Naiqama charges onto Prince's kick and is tackled on halfway.
7 min: Mullen kicks towards Naiqama but Maranta comes up with a great catch.
9 min: Mullen kicks on the last over the head of Hoffman before the Broncos fullback is banged down by Scott.
10 min: The Broncos come up with some brilliant play on the last tackle, running the ball before Maranta falls over and succumbs to the Boyd tackle 10m from the line.
11 min: Smith has the ball jolted free and the Broncos will go on the attack.
11 min: Hunt rolls the ball into the in-goal on the last before Uate is tackled. Knights dropout.
13 min: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Justin Hodges. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
Hodges scores the try for the Broncos to hit back! The visitors shifted the ball to the right for Hodges to beat Roberts on the outside and slice through to cross out wide. Prince splits the posts to tie us back up.
16 min: McCullough attempts a 40/20 but Boyd is back to pick up the ball on the full.
17 min: Mullen kicks for Uate but Hoffman gets back for the Broncos to field possession.
17 min: PENALTY Broncos. Scott ruled to have had a hand on the ball.
18 min: Great ball from Ben Hunt to put Hodges into the in-goal, but Naiqama comes up with a try-saver to hold up the Broncos centre.
19 min: Another great kick from Mullen pulls the ball up just inside the deadball line. Tackle 3 from the Broncos and they're 10m out.
22 min: Uate takes Hunt's bomb very well before nearly setting sail for the tryline, but he's dragged down.
25 min: Boyd takes Hoffman out while not even contesting the ball but gets away with one.
26 min: PENALTY Knights. Stagg is injured in the previous tackle, but Gower pulls one out of the bag and gets the penalty.
27 min: The Knights move the ball to the right side and appear certain to score through Uate before Oates takes the intercept! Mullen tries in vain but can't pull the Broncos winger down before Roberts finishes the tackle and drags him into touch 80m downfield.
27 min: Jarrod Mullen receives treatment from the trainer for a possible calf injury, but retains his place in the line from the scrum.
30 min: Mullen attempts a 40/20 and leads the chase to make the tackle on Hoffman.
30 min: PENALTY Broncos. Knights offside.
31 min: Broncos move the ball to their left and Parker puts the ball down.
32 min: Roberts grubbers on the last and Hoffman is well positioned.
32 min: Hunt chip-kicks for himself and heads for the tryline! He passed back on the inside to Wallace who puts the ball down to relieve the pressure on the home side. Knights scrum.
34 min: Mullen throws the ball on the last into Roberts who throws another pass into Parkers lap.
35 min: Hunt grubbers into the in-goal and Boyd is tackled to force a repeat set.
36 min: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Corey Parker. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
Parker scores alongside the posts to put the Broncos in front. Hunt delivered the money ball for Parker who ran a great line to beat the tackle of Scott before carrying Boyd over the line. Prince adds the extras.
Brisbane Broncos 12-6
38 min: Hunt slices through some more average defence from the Knights before kicking for his outside men but the ball rolls into touch.
40 min: Halftime at Hunter Stadium and the Broncos lead the Knights 12-6.
41 min: Second half action underway. Important 40 minutes to come in the context of both team's seasons.
41 min: Some big hits from the Knights in the opening set in defence before Naiqama grabs the ball on the second bounce and is tackled.
43 min: Uate defuses Prince's bomb. 20m restart.
44 min: Maranta looks to have knocked on but the referees say knocked back. Brisbane ball.
46 min: Great play from the Broncos and they throw the ball around on the last before looking like scoring but Boyd is back for the Knights to claim possession.
47 min: The Knights shift the ball left and Hodges gets a hand to it and knocks it down. Knights scrum.
48 min: Boyd rolls the ball in behind the defence and Hoffman is back for the Broncos just in time.
49 min: Hunt chips well inside his own half on the last tackle and Roberts gets possession 40m from the Broncos line.
50 min: Boyd again kicks in behind the Broncos defence but Maranta bats it dead. Broncos dropout.
51 min: Roberts kicks into the in-goal on the last but Oates gets back into the field of play.
52 min: Hunt's kick goes through the fingers of Uate before he tip toes on the dead ball line.
54 min: Mullen attempts a 40/20 but the ball doesn't go in touch with Maranta back for the Broncos.
56 min: Mullen has his kick charged down. Six more for the Knights.
56 min: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Joseph Leilua. Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts unsuccessful.
Leilua scores for the Knights out wide! Again they moved the ball to the left with Boyd providing the money ball for his centre. He still had some work to do, before he spun out of the tackle and banged the ball down behind his back in the corner. Roberts can't add the extras from the sideline.
Brisbane Broncos 12-10
60 min: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Jack Reed. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful.
Reed returns serve for the Broncos. Josh McGuire pushed out of a slimsy attempted tackle from Beau Scott to break into the back field. He drew Boyd before firing the pass to his centre. Prince adds the extras from the sideline.
Brisbane Broncos 18-10
63 min: Hunt's kick just rolls dead. Knights restart.
64 min: Hoffman takes a great catch off a Mullen spiralling bomb in front of his own posts.
66 min: The Knights throw the ball around on the last with Beau Scott pulled down a metre short of the line after 20 sets of hands were involved.
68 min: Mullen kicks across field and Oates drops the bomb before Gagai soccers the ball into the in-goal but the ball rolls dead. Knights scrum.
69 min: PENALTY Knights. Hodges with a lazy attempted tackle which takes Uate high.
69 min: Naiqama kicks for himself but the ball goes dead. Broncos restart.
70 min: PENALTY Knights. Broncos offside.
72 min: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Beau Scott. Conversion attempt by Craig Gower unsuccessful.
Beau Scott scores for the Knights after Mullen delivered a great short pass to his second rower to charge through the Brisbane defence that slid on its own line. Gower misses the conversion with Roberts on the bench.
Brisbane Broncos 18-14
72 min: The Knights charge down field on tackle 5 they're 20m from the Broncos line!
74 min: Reed appeared to have knocked on but the referees say knocked back. Broncos ball.
76 min: Mullen runs the ball on the last and is pulled down 10m from the line. Broncos ball.
77 min: Hoffman with a big tackle on Naiqama!
78 min: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by Akuila Uate. Conversion attempt by Craig Gower unsuccessful.
Uate crosses in the corner to tie us up! Mullen again delivered the money ball to Gagai who drew Oates and flicked the pass to his winger. Gower can't add the extras from the sideline.
80 min: Restart from the Knights and Fa'alogo is tackled.
80 min: Fulltime at Hunter Stadium and we're off to golden point! 18-all
80 min: Broncos to have first use of the footy in golden point.
81 min: We're underway in added time!
81 min: Broncos are in range on tackle five
81 min: UNSUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL BRISBANE BRONCOS
Field goal attempt by Ben Hunt unsuccessful.
Ben Hunt pushes it to the left!
82 min: Mullen kicks on the last and Hoffman is tackled 20m from his own line.
83 min: Uate charges into the tackle of Gillett and is down receiving attention.
84 min: Mullen has his kick charged down!
85 min: Hodges knocks the ball down and we'll have a scrum!
85 min: UNSUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Field goal attempt by Jarrod Mullen unsuccessful.
Mullen has his field goal charged down again!
85 min: Halftime in extra time and it's still 18-all!
85 min: Second stanza of golden point underway
86 min: UNSUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Field goal attempt by Jarrod Mullen unsuccessful.
Mullen snaps a field goal attempt and it misses to the right
88 min: The Broncos go to the air and Reed kicks into the in-goal to force a dropout.
89 min: UNSUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL BRISBANE BRONCOS
Field goal attempt by Peter Wallace unsuccessful.
Wallace misses to the right!
89 min: UNSUCCESSFUL FIELD GOAL NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Field goal attempt by Jarrod Mullen unsuccessful.
Mullen misses left. Can someone kick a field goal!?
90 min: Fulltime at Hunter Stadium and the Knights and Broncos have fought out an 18-all draw.