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Cobbo hat trick gets Broncos in winning circle over Newcastle




Brisbane are heading towards their first NRL finals series in three years after overcoming Newcastle 28-10 at Suncorp Stadium.

Broncos captain Adam Reynolds stamped his authority in the slippery conditions to orchestrate four of his side’s five tries – including a Selwyn Cobbo hat-trick – for the dogged victory.

Despite returning to the winners’ circle, coach Kevin Walters will be unhappy with a disappointing second half on Saturday night when the Knights stormed back into the contest after trailing 18-0 at halftime.

Up by eight with 10 minutes left, it took some Reynolds’ magic to ease the 25,742-strong home crowd’s nerves by setting up Cobbo’s last two tries in the right corner.

The win virtually locks in a finals berth for Brisbane – their first since 2019 after two painful seasons in the cellar – as they now sit three wins clear and a significant for-and-against advantage over ninth-placed Canberra.

It also ended a two-game rut following flat losses to Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters which had put their top-four hopes on ice.

But their form will need to improve if they are to make an impact in September.

“We’re obviously not happy with the second half but pleased with the victory after the last two weeks,” Reynolds told Fox League.

“It was a step in the right direction.”

Drizzle in Brisbane made the ball like a cake of soap, with both sides regularly coughing up possession.

Without injured big guns David Klemmer and Kalyn Ponga, the Knights muscled up and actually had the better of the territorial battle in the first half but they were found wanting out wide where the Broncos cut loose.

Newcastle breathed life into the contest when stand-in skipper Jayden Brailey, in his 100th game, cleverly put a barging Daniel Saifiti over midway through the second half.

When Bradman Best swivelled over with 13 minutes left, the visitors had the momentum but Reynolds stepped up to combine with Kotoni Staggs for Cobbo to cross.

Three minutes later an inch perfect cross-kick gave the Maroons winger his third.

While Reynolds dominated, it was rising five-eighth Ezra Mam who had the home fans roaring loudest by starting and finishing a blazing 75m break just before halftime for the 18-point lead.

Brisbane prop Tom Flegler was placed on report for an accidental high collision with Anthony Milford which forced the Knights playmaker off briefly for a HIA.

© AAP





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