Brisbane’s bid for a top-four NRL finish remains on track after surviving a scare to overcome the struggling Newcastle 34-22.
Without Queensland State of Origin forwards Josh McGuire and Matt Gillett, the Broncos on Saturday trailed 12-6 at halftime and suffered a second-term lapse before they powered home.
The loss marked the eighth time this season the Knights had blown a halftime lead, as they inched closer to a third-consecutive wooden spoon with their seventh-straight loss.
The win moves the Broncos provisionally back into the top four, ahead of Manly’s clash on Sunday with the Wests Tigers.
Five-eighth Anthony Milford also came through the McDonald Jones Stadium match unscathed on his return from a shoulder dislocation.
“We didn’t play badly,” Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said.
“They had some pretty good football.
“We completed at about 85 per cent and we did a lot of things right.”
After they trailed by six at the break, the match turned on a 70-metre James Roberts break to score after he scooped up a ball kicked at him by Knights utility Joe Wardle.
It summed up the Knights’ season, who suffered a similar fate last week to Canterbury when a ball was kicked into the Bulldogs’ Moses Mbye in the final minute to seal the result.
“When we lose that momentum, we have that disappointment and then we don’t come together with our defence,” Knights coach Nathan Brown said.
“And then we leak another try and were under the pump and then it’s here we go again.
“We’ve got to get that mentality where we can really drop it, get over it and get back in the fight quickly.”
The Broncos scored tries in two of their next three sets, and, in 10 minutes, the match had swung 24-12 in their favour.
However, after Chanel Mata’utia and Dane Gagai crossed in short time, the Knights were back within two points with 15 minutes to play.
Gagai was terrific for the Knights, just three days after claiming the Wally Lewis Medal as player of the Origin series, as he ran 164 metres and broke five tackles in the loss.
But he gave away their best chance to reclaim the lead when he broke free from a Brisbane error, only to pass the ball straight to opposition forward Adam Blair.
Former Knight Korbin Sims and winger Jonus Pearson sealed the match for Brisbane in the final 10 minutes.