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Bennett backs Sims after fiery clash

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett admitted Newcastle's record in second halves gave him every confidence the Broncos could take control and fight back from a six-point deficit at half-time to beat the Knights 34-22. 

The Broncos were without Australian fullback Darius Boyd and rested State of Origin pair Josh McGuire and Matt Gillett following the Maroons' victory on Wednesday night.

Others players also missing included wingers Corey Oates and David Mead, with Bennett forced to call upon young rookies Jonus Pearson and Jamayne Isaako. 

Returning five-eighth Anthony Milford made a successful return after missing the past six weeks with a shoulder injury, but overall the side lacked combinations and polish with key men out. 

"We didn't play badly," Bennett said post-game. 

"We had some pretty good football, completed at about 85 per cent and did a lot of things right.

"We've got a number of players missing and just miss what they bring.

"To their credit they were completing pretty highly as well and challenging us in different ways."

The Broncos scored three tries inside nine minutes after half-time, and while Bennett wasn't expecting the 18-point turnaround to come that easily, the signs were there. 

‌James Roberts looked dangerous from the start and his second-half try immediately after the break was a mirror of Moses Mbye's for the Bulldogs against the Knights a week ago.

The moment haunted Nathan Brown's side for the next eight minutes as the Broncos took complete control.

"It was probably what put the game away and the rest they were trying to catch up," Bennett said.

"We weren't anticipating to score three tries in nine minutes in the change room though, we just wanted to get back into the game and with a bit of luck the boys got a couple of opportunities and put us in a good position."

One of the biggest talking points to come out of the clash was Korbin Sims' running battle with both his former teammates and the Newcastle crowd.

While the Knights came up with some big tackles on the Fijian international, it was Sims who had the final say with a decisive four-pointer in the second half.

"The first tackle of the game they squared him up," Bennett said.

"That was Korbin's best game. He didn't want to come back tonight and not play well. He was very good."

Stand-in skipper Adam Blair was at the forefront of the confrontations as he and Sims upped the ante towards the backend of the contest. 

"They were having a few yarns in the scrum there but Korbin is a big boy and they went at each other fair in the middle," Blair said.

"Anytime you come back to an old team and get a try is special.

"It's just good to see him enjoying his footy again."

Meanwhile, Bennett confirmed Milford got through the game unscathed and despite requiring surgery at the end of the season, will be better for the run.

"I thought he had a pretty good game for his first one back after six weeks since he played," Bennett said.

"He should get a lot of confidence out of it.

"I was happy he came off the field in one piece and we didn’t have to take him off."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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