MY HEAD IS SPINNING
That first half was mind bending. Brisbane looked like they were headed for 70 after racing to a 24-0 lead after 21 minutes. It seemed as good as over and the Knights weren't even close to being in the game. But hang on... what's this? A few penalties, some possession and all of a sudden, the Knights pile on three of their own to make it 26-18 at halftime. The defence was awful but it was great to watch.
The Knights fired the first shot in the second half as well. Richie Fa'aoso scored under the posts in the 57th minute and Newcastle trailed by just two points. Surely the Broncos can't lose it from here? They didn't. The Knights ran out of puff spectacularly, with an avalanche of late tries earning Brisbane the half century. Whatever snapped them out of their slumber should be bottled and exported.
Peter Wallace was the man for the Broncos. The halfback's defence is first-class and he sparked Brisbane's late run, setting up tries for Hodges and Hoffman as Brisbane stampeded the Knights at the tail end of the game. Why he has been marked as 'not for Origin' is completely beyond me.
Matt Gillett is a brilliant player. No doubt. But his defence at times is suspect. He made a few bad reads today, helping the Knights get back into the game as it opened up around his post in the middle. It's a clear area of the game where he needs to improve. I'm sure Ricky Stuart has noticed.
FULLTIME Brisbane 50 Newcastle 24.
79th min TRY to Hoffman. Copley bust down the left, back inside and Wallace rounds up his fullback with an inside ball under the sticks. Simple, yet elegant. It's going to be 50-24. Anybody else reckon Wallace is better than Mitchell Pearce? I do. But I'm a Queenslander so that doesn't realy count.
78th min Perfect Parker kicks it from in front. It's 44-24 and the Knights are mentally on the bus to the airport.
76th min Andrew McCullough dummies after a scoot and goes over for the TRY. The Knights have given up the ghost now. Simple stuff, tired defence and it's 42-24 to Brisbane. It's turned out to be a bit of a hiding after all.
75th min Houston body slams Glenn to the turf. That pair have not got on well this afternoon. A few Knights players down now after what looks to be a clash of heads. Joel Edwards v Costigan. Costigan wins. Brisbane 38 Newcastle 24.
71st min TRY to the Broncos. Hodges finishes off a 60m move that started with a superb ball from Pete Wallace to Gerard Beale. Positioned his centre beautifully in the two-on-one and the Origin star cruises over. That's how you do it, South Sydney. Brisbane well clear now and lead 38-24.
68th min What about these missed tackle stats - the Knights have missed 28 and Brisbane 25. That's more than 50 in the game. Cameron Smith makes that many every week. Broncos lead 32-24.
65th min Captain's knock from Thaiday. That's a TRY and he couldn't get more under the posts if he got some surveyors in to mark the spot. Throws the dummy off the back of that penalty, which was against Houston for being third-man-in during a scuffle between Glenn and Boyd. Houston was captain at the time. Costly result. Wallace kicks it (Parker off the field) and Brisbane lead 32-24.
63rd min Mullen throw a poor pass to the feet of Naiqama. Actually, if it was supposed to go to the feet of Naiqama if was a great pass. Right on target. Reed loses it for the Broncos and they are going horribly at the moment. The Knights a massive chance here! Now a scuffle and the penalty goes to... Brisbane! Huge decision. Third man in penalty against Houston. Broncos lead 26-24.
60th min Big finish looming here as the Knights get it back to just a two-point deficit. The Broncos haven't fired a shot since the 20th minute. Some of these defensive errors from Gillett today have been fairly glaring. Is he playing his way out of an Origin jumper? Probaby not but he needs to pick things up. Now Brisbane throw a forward pass working their way out of their half - Wallace to Hodges. More strife for the Broncos, who lead 26-24.
57th min Uate takes another cross-kick, this time from Norman. I wonder if the cross-kick has become such a default play in the game these days that playmakers don't really have a good look at their fifth-tackle options near the opposing tryline. We saw in the Origin the Blues kick it relentlessly to Brent Tate and the Broncos have been guilty of repetition today. Penalty to the Knights now after Glenn takes out the man off the ball and Knights are in! TRY to Richie Fa'aoso! Bad read again from Gillett and the Knights trail 26-24.
55th min McGuire pinged for a high shot on Chris Adams. Crowd here is 26,683 which isn't great for a Sunday but there has been fears of big storms this afternoon. Both sides really settling into a grinding pattern of play after that amazing first half, where the Broncos took a 24-0 lead after 23 minutes onto see the Knights get it back to 24-18 by halftime. When the coaches said it's 0-0 in the second half, the players really took it to heart.
50th min Boyd had a run to the line and fell on his back, dropping the ball as he spun to plant it. Bit of a howler really and that could cost his side dearly. Brisbane lead 26-18 and more errors creeping into this game. Broncos cough it up through Parker just as his side was looking dangerous.
49th min Copley drops it in the tackle and Brisbane are going to be under some pressure of their own. If they lose this game going into an Origin week after blowing a 24-0 lead, Anthony Griffin is going to have to take stress leave. Has Boyd scored here? Hold on! He's lost it! Butchered the try!
46th min Joel Edwards puts it on the deck and Brisbane get the scrum 20m out from the Knights line. If this goes to plan, you would assume they would score. Nope.... the Knights show a bit on their line in defence and Corey Norman caught with it on the fifth tackle. Good pressure without the ball from the Knights. Brisbane 26 Newcastle 18.
43rd min This half literally minutes old and still no tries. These guys need to learn this game is about entertainment. Brisbane lead 26-18 as the Knights get a little sniff down the left edge. Lovely cover from Peter Wallace. Great defender for a number seven.
41st min Almost 30 seconds of play in the second half and nobody has scored a try. What a yawnfest.
HALFTIME Brisbane 26 Newcastle 18. What a bizarre and brilliant half of football. Defence not on the menu this afternoon.
39th min I cannot believe what I am seeing. Mullen goes 79m to score but he's called back for being offside after the Wallace grubber rebounded off Houston. That's a tough call if you ask me but it's no try. Now Brisbane get a penalty almost in front and Parker will try to earn an extra two points right before the break. It's Brisbane 24 Knights 18.
35th min TRY to the Knights! Buderus under the posts as the Knights go 65m! Boyd stands up Matt Gillett and makes the break to set up the veteran hooker under the sticks. Unbelievable stuff. I wouldn't have believed if 20 minutes ago. Gillett missed a shocker midfield and it's, wait for it, 24-18 to Brisbane after the Broncos lead 24-0 after 23 minutes. It's a half of two halves.
33rd min Head above water? Better that that. There's a TRY for the Knights and suddenly it's 24-10. Wes Naiqama goes over in the corner and converts his own try to make it 24-12. You could have got 100s for that scoreline the way this game opened but, hey, that's footy for ya. It's Brisbane 24 Newcastle 12.
31st min Uate has been a rock under the high ball and is tested by Wallace again. And yet another penalty to the Knights as they get a welcome piggy back from their own end. Poor discipline from Brisbane helping the Novacastrians keep their head above water. Broncos 26 Knights 6.
28th min The conversion is good and it's 24-6 to Brisbane. I wouldn't exactly say we've got a game on our hands but they Knights at least stopped Brisbane's destructive scoring swathe. And another penalty to the Knights. Cards falling their way at the moment.
26th min Knights get a third set in succession after a penalty against the Broncos. They must score you would think and they have. Danny Buderus dives over from dummy half for the TRY. It wasn't pretty but it counts. Brisbane 24 Knights 4.
25th min Hoffman cleans up the Newcastle kick and they repel the only Newcastle raid. They've had 63 per cent of the ball Brisbane but the Knights get another set from this drop out. Booooo.... let's see more tries. Brisbane 24 Knights 0.
23rd min Corey Parker can't lose. From the sideline again! He's automatic this afternoon. Broncos lead 24-0 and this is already hideously ugly for the Knights. But Hannant spills it so they get a rare chance to attack.
21st min TRY to Brisbane! Parker slices them open but for some odd reason, brushes the support of Hodges. Didn't matter. It was spun wide and Copley scores in the corner. Brisbane beat Newcastle 71-6 in 2007 so have some way to go before it reaches that sort of depravity. But it's on the cards. Broncos 22 Knights 0.
20th min Parker has found some touch with the boot today. Floats one over from the other side this time and Brisbane not far short of a point per minute. They lead 18-0 and Newcastle are going to cop a flogging in Brisbane once again if they can't show some will in defence.
18th min Civoniceva demolishes Costigan and forces the turnover. Brisbane away again here and the Knights will do well to hold on. They can't - not even close. Awful, awful defence and Hodges simply catches it and romps over. TRY to the Broncos and it's 16-0.
16th min Parker sends a dart of a kick over the dot from the angle and gets his side a 12-0 lead. Knights not being close to getting into the game at this stage. Very dangerous signs for them unless they can force a mistake from the Broncos and get some decent ball.
13th min Parker goes close and the Knights getting pumped. Parker threw a crazy pass and obviously didn't hear the call for a fresh set of six after Uate contested the kick. Brisbane back with the ball now and have absolutely owned this game in terms of territory. Knights playing it all down their own end. Surely they can't hold on and there is the TRY to Jack Reed. Just caught them short on the left, dummied and slammed it down. Broncos lead 10-0 with a kick on the way.
9th min J Hodges putting on a clinic at the moment today. Turning the Knights left-hand defence in circles every time he touches the ball. Brisbane just have that look of a side who could rack up a score today. Of course, I'm generally never right, so take that prediction as you will. Brisbane lead 6-0.
7th min The Wallace cross-kick was too deep and Uate beats a horde of chasers to mark it in goal. He tries to tap it on the 20m line but is incapable of that seemingly simple act. He had to go back and attempt it three times before working it out. Momentum killer. Broncos 6 Knights 0.
6th min The Knights offside from the kick-off! Lunacy! Absolute lunacy! Brisbane lead 6-0 and end up attacking about 30 seconds after the conversion of the previous try.
3rd min TRY to Brisbane. Hodges had his fingerprints all over that. Sets it up for Gerard Beale who steps Boyd, the Origin specialist, and goes over after for an easy try. The Knights looked brittle there. It's 6-0.
1st min We're away folks. That Dwayne Bennett guy is back in town (used to coach here, I've heard) and his Knights get the first touch on what's turned out to be a decent afternoon following a night of rain, rain - a short break - and more rain. Just the four wins for Newcastle this season. Anybody still like them for the premiership?
Preamble Thanks for joining me football fans. I'm in Brisbane as the Broncos and Knights both try to break three-game losing streaks. Brisbane banked plenty of early season wins and are third before this game, while the Knights are battling away in 13th.
If the typing goes a bit wobbly during the coverage, it will just be the tears slowly rolling down my face and onto the keyboard after the Rabbitohs lost last night. Anybody know why Farrell dived about 25m out from the line? Anyone?