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Knights made it difficult for themselves, says Brown

Newcastle coach Nathan Brown refused to comment on the second-half sin-binning of James Gavet after the Knights were on the wrong end of a 14-7 penalty count despite a 14-point win on Saturday night.

Gavet was marched for a 10-minute spell directly after half-time with senior referee Ashley Klein ruling the Knights enforcer made dangerous contact with Andrew McCullough's head before sending him as a result of the side's poor penalty count.

The decision led to the Broncos getting back into the contest in front of 24,397 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium with two tries to the visitors narrowing the lead, while the Knights fell away from what worked in the first half with poor uncharacteristic errors.

"All I'd say about the second half is we make it extremely difficult for ourselves in a number of ways," Brown said.

"I've certainly spoken to the players and we'll leave it at that. The pleasing thing is from a club point of view is that we could do what we did and push through it and come out the other end and still get a good result."

Match Highlights: Knights v Broncos

Brown was far more vocal about the Knights' ability to burst out of the blocks and ignoring the distraction of losing Kalyn Ponga to a calf injury just eight hours before kick-off, while the club expects Edrick Lee to be out for an extended period after the winger suffered a suspected broken arm in the first half.

Knights utility Kurt Mann slotted into the fullback role for Ponga and delivered a slick performance with two try assists in the opening 25 minutes.

Newcastle playmaker Mason Lino stepped in from 18th man duties to also play a starring role, setting up a try and kicking five from five conversions.

"Kurt's last two weeks preparation have been far from ideal, he only found out at lunchtime today he'd play fullback," Brown said.

"I thought he [Lino] had a really good contribution. His ability to bring Jesse Ramien into the game was a real highlight for us because that's something that we haven't used Jess that well this year.

"Jesse getting into the game is a key for us. I thought we started the game with plenty of energy. There were a few shuffles with the team but the guys seemed to handle that well.

"It was pleasing that we had a good run and turned the Melbourne loss around with another good result."

Brown was resigned to the prospect of possibly losing up to five players to Origin III duties next week.

Knights enforcer David Klemmer was instrumental upon his return from a wrist injury with the fan-favourite churning out 50 minutes in his opening stint.

"Whether we have him next week or not only time will tell," Brown said of Klemmer.

"I thought we'd get our pound of flesh out of him if we don't have him next week."

Brown said he expected Ponga, Pearce and Glasby, who have been nagged with injuries in recent weeks, to be available for Origin selection, along with incumbent NSW prop Daniel Saifiti.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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