Broncos land ‘cheap shot’, classy Knights bring real pain
Andrew Johns labelled it "dangerous" and "cheap".
And while Joey's beloved Newcastle cruised to a comfortable 27-6 win over Brisbane to continue the Knights' best start to a season since 2002, the bumbling Broncos look set to cop further pain after slumping to their fourth straight defeat.
Young forward Pat Carrigan, a member of the Broncos' leadership group, will be in strife after being placed on report for an ugly late shot on Mitchell Pearce.
Pearce's head whiplashed dangerously after he was hammered in the back well after he had passed the ball midway through the second half.
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Johns took aim at Carrigan on Channel 9: "It is so dangerous and it is cheap.
"Imagine 30 years ago if someone hit a halfback like that … imagine 'Chief' (Paul Harragon) … it doesn't get any cheaper than that."
It capped off a terrible Broncos performance.
Right now the game's richest and most resourced club look in serious trouble.
Despite having so much to play for in Gosford, they played like a team of strangers.
Star five-eighth Anthony Milford set a lacklustre standard, having four runs for nine metres.
KNIGHTS TOO GOOD
In 2001 the Knights last won the comp. Then in 2002 they started the season with six straight wins.
At the start of this year not many experts had the Knights in their top eight.
Right now they are six games in with one loss and one draw and they are playing like a team with every right to be thinking finals will be on the horizon.
While this wasn't their most polished performance, it was brave and well-earned following last week's loss to Melbourne.
Big prop Daniel Saifiti led the way up front with 197m while the Knights pack overall dominated the young Broncos with David Klemmer and Jacob Saifiti also strong.
Kalyn Ponga was the talk of the town after signing his $4m contract extension, but it was Pearce and underrated five-eighth Kurt Mann who orchestrated the victory.
Pearce put in a terrific performance scoring a late try after copping the whack off Carrigan, while he put Mann over for the opening try and landed a well-timed field goal just before halftime to push the lead out to 13-6.
Mann also laid on a clever try with a well-placed grubber for Hymel Hunt.
Mann's all over performance really showed up Milford who would be on at least twice as much money.
Newcastle's next game is against North Queensland in Townsville next Saturday, while the Broncos will be taking on the Titans in their local derby.
When Brisbane went into the COVID shutdown plenty were thinking they were a top four team in the making.
But right now Anthony Seibold would be wondering how he can turn the tide.
Not only is their confidence shot but they are just not playing with enough discipline to test their opposition consistently.
Seibold said he wasn't concerned with the effort but "individuals at different times just aren't doing their job".
Their only points came through a length of the field intercept try to young winger Xavier Coates.
Their completion rate was dreadful and their attack is just lacklustre.
Milford is at his most dangerous when he runs the ball but yet again he failed to put himself into the game.
STERLO SERVES PANGAI
Tevita Pangai is another who just isn't aiming up.
At his best he has the size, power and athleticism to be a contender for a NSW Origin jumper.
But after pulling off a monster early shot on David Klemmer, the young Broncos' giant really let himself down, coming up with some lazy passes and poor defensive efforts.
Peter Sterling made an honest assessment on Channel 9: "I know this is his first game back but he has got to make sure he is not a fair-weather player. He drifts in and out of games too much. He's there for the good times. He has to make sure he's there for the bad."
REFS TAKE STAND
Last week it took referee Ben Cummins 19 minutes to blow his first six-to-go set restart in Newcastle's match against Melbourne.
This week there were a total of eight in the first half alone as Gerard Sutton set a fast standard.
Sutton issued four restarts in the first 20 minute followed by a tough sin bin on Jamayne Isaako for a second effort when Kalyn Ponga was trying to get a quick play the ball.
By fulltime there had been 11 restarts, 12 penalties and two sin bins.
Originally published as Broncos land 'cheap shot', classy Knights bring real pain