It has been well over a year now since Newcastle travelled to Brisbane for one of the most extraordinary games of football we’ve witnessed in recent seasons – and didn’t the fans get their money’s worth!
In perfect Sunday afternoon conditions, there were always going to be plenty of points on offer in the Round 13 clash and it was the Broncos that rocketed out of the blocks to lead 24-0 after just 21 minutes thanks largely to the brilliance of Justin Hodges. The Queensland State of Origin centre set up his side’s first try with a combination of power, footwork and skill and scored another himself, while on the left it was all too easy for Jack Reed and Dale Copley to get their names on the score sheet.
At that stage it looked like a long afternoon for the Knights but the tide quickly turned after Danny Buderus burrowed his way over from dummy-half. Moments later Wes Naiqama strolled over out wide to make it 24-12 and when Darius Boyd raced through some sloppy defence to hand Buderus his second it was suddenly game-on.
On the stroke of halftime, a deflected Brisbane grubber saw Jarrod Mullen scoop the ball up and race 95 metres for what would have levelled the scores – but the video referee correctly found him to be offside and Corey Parker slotted the ensuing goal to make it 26-18 at halftime.
Still, there was more excitement to come. Richie Fa’aoso strolled through a huge gap between the sticks to give Newcastle the running and had Boyd not inexplicably fumbled the ball over the line it could have been a different story, but Brisbane clicked back into gear just in time with a Sam Thaiday solo effort ending Newcastle’s resistance.
A brilliant Peter Wallace long ball sent Gerard Beale away down the right for Hodges to score his second and when Andrew McCullough and Josh Hoffman added tries at the death, we had a phenomenal final score of 50-24.
Brisbane made 1408 metres to the Knights’ 1167, made 11 line-breaks to five and tallied 18 fewer missed tackles.
Hodges was brilliant for the home side with 145 metres, two tries, six offloads and three tackle-breaks while Boyd contributed 149 metres and six tackle-breaks for Newcastle.