Barba brilliant in Bronco blitz
Under-fire Brisbane Broncos fullback Ben Barba was played back into form as his side recorded a 32-6 victory against a miserable Newcastle Knights outfit in front of a healthy crowd of 22,254 Novocastrians.
While he ended the game under an injury cloud, Barba was instrumental in his side's fortunes in what would prove to be not-that-good of a Friday for the Knights.
The Broncos on the other hand snapped a two-game losing streak on their way to recording their sixth win over the Knights in their past nine games.
While the Knights once again failed to win at home, a shining light was unveiled in the form of debutant winger, 19 year-old Jake Mamo, who after a nervous start showed that he has what it takes to make a career in the top grade.
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With Representative Round approaching the likes of back-rowers Matt Gillett and Beau Scott did their selection chances for their respective states no harm after admirable performances.
While they would end up capitulating, it was all Newcastle in the game's opening 10 minutes. Off the back of Jarrod Mullen producing two repeat sets for the Knights, as if his left foot had the ball on a string, they were unable to convert territory into points when the opportunities presented themselves.
With Newcastle maintaining the majority of possession for the game's early proceedings it would be the Broncos who would end up scoring the first try of the game in the 16th minute against the run of play. A Matt Gillett intercept was complemented when back-rower Alex Glenn picked up the scraps from a Ben Hunt bomb to set up a 4-0 advantage.
While the Broncos would concede a drop-out off the subsequent kick-off, the Knights would again let their opportunities go begging with their fifth set inside the Broncos 20 metres – getting caught with the ball on the sixth tackle for the third time in the game.
In what would end up costing the home side, the Broncos extended their lead to 10-0 in the 23rd minute. A splendid unders ball from Ben Barba created a gap for Matt Gillett to power his way through and score his fourth try of the season.
A 30th minute magical Broncos team try brought Barba fans to their feet as he scored his first try for his new club. With Barba wrapping behind a Broncos backline movement, he handed it off to winger Daniel Vidot who, by just escaping the dreaded sideline, threw the ball over his shoulder back into the field of play for centre Jack Reed to collect. Reed then found the supporting Barba who gleefully raced for the tryline and helped his side to a 16-0 lead.
With three minutes left in the first half the Newcastle faithful finally had something to cheer about – a simple hand-off from dummy-half Adam Clydesdale giving interchange forward Korbin Sims a shot at the tryline from close range which he duly made the most of in the 36th minute. A late flurry from the Knights just before half-time amounted to nothing and the two sides headed into the sheds at 16-6 the way of the visitors.
It took 23 minutes after half-time for another point to be scored; Barba again proving instrumental for the Broncos in a backline movement that finished with winger Dale Copley taking a classy flick pass from Justin Hodges before crossing in the right-hand corner and extending the lead to 20-6. A Corey Parker penalty goal in the 70th minute extended the Broncos lead to 16 before late tries to Ben Hannant and Josh Hoffman saw the final margin blow out to 26 points.
Brisbane 32 (Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Ben Barba, Dale Copley, Ben Hannant, Josh Hoffman tries; Corey Parker 3, Ben Hunt goals) defeated Newcastle 6 (Korbin Sims try; Tyrone Roberts goal). Crowd: 22,254. Half-time: 16-6 Broncos.