The Brisbane Broncos have embarrassed the Knights 31-18 in Newcastle thanks to an incredible second-half blitz, despite missing six of their players to Queensland Origin duty.
After scoring the first try of the match the Broncos found themselves behind 18-6 after 39 minutes, but scored three tries in the space of seven minutes to hit the lead in the early stages of the second half and didn't look back against a Knights team that missed their captain Kurt Gidley in the final 40, with the veteran failing to return from a concussion.
The Broncos' second try of the evening, and the eventual match-turner, came from centre Jack Reed who snatched the ball away from Anthony Milford inches from the dead ball line a minute before half-time, though a terrible goal kick attempt from halfback Ben Hunt ensured the Knights maintained an eight-point half-time lead.
Yet it only took 90 seconds into the second half for the Broncos to strike again when Reed crossed for his second try in two minutes against the Gidley-less Knights. The visitors had charged up field thanks to a line break from the kick-off by Jordan Kahu, who had brushed through an attempted tackle from Newcastle's Paterika Vaivai.
Brisbane hit the lead for the second time of the night in the 46th minute when captain Andrew McCullough scooted from dummy-half and dummied his way past Newcastle fullback Dane Gagai to cross for one of the easiest tries ever scored.
The Broncos roll-on continued through Corey Oates two minutes later when the winger glided down the wing before pushing his way through Gagai to score. A penalty goal to Kahu and a sweetly struck field goal from Milford in the 77th minute put the result beyond doubt.
The game started as strongly as it ended for the Broncos when Milford sidestepped his way to the try-line after four minutes.
The Knights hit back in the 11th minute when Kade Snowden got a scrappy offload away to hooker Tyler Randell who levelled the scores.
From there the hosts appeared to gain the ascendency, with Newcastle's Korbin Sims forcing his way through four Broncos defenders just to the left of the uprights in the 18th minute to help the home side to the lead for the first time.
A long-winding run from halfback Tyrone Roberts put Newcastle in good territory in the 27th minute for Joey Leilua to force his way over the line with three defenders attempting to hold him. But despite their first-half dominance the Knights couldn't contain the runaway Broncos in the second term.
A cause for concern for the eventual winners is a medial injury to utility Kodi Nikorima, who was carried off the field midway through the second half.
Brisbane Broncos 31 (Jack Reed 2, Anthony Milford, Andrew McCullough, Corey Oates tries; Jordan Kahu 4, Ben Hunt 1 goals; Anthony Milford Field Goal) defeated Newcastle Knights 18 (Tyler Randell, Korbin Sims, Joey Leilua tries; Tyrone Roberts 3 goals) at Hunter Stadium. Crowd: 12,673. Halftime: Knights 18-10.