The Broncos lost Reynolds on Thursday morning to a groin issue and while they weren't at their attacking best without their playmaker early, they repelled Newcastle's attacking raids before shutting the Knights out in the second half.
A contentious try to Selwyn Cobbo in the 67th minute, who singlehandedly tormented the Knights throughout the contest, gave the Broncos an eight-point lead after Newcastle fought their way back to 14-12 in the second half.
From there, the Broncos piled on three more tries in the final 13 minutes with Cobbo grabbing a double to stake further Origin claims.
Broncos debutant Ezra Mam endured a mixed night after a late call-up for the contest but finished with a try assist for Corey Oates, who crossed for his 10th try of the season.
For the Knights, Anthony Milford had a solid game on club debut against his old side but the home side's flimsy efforts defensively gave the new recruit limited opportunities with the game on the line.
A final pass will be one to forget with the former Bronco throwing an intercept for Herbie Farnworth to cross on the siren.
- Newcastle started promisingly with Kalyn Ponga breaking the Broncos line in the first set before the Knights crossed early via Tyson Frizell after an Ezra Mam error attempting to collect an Adam Clune kick close to the line.
- The Broncos repelled Newcastle on their own line once more before taking advantage of a quick tap to send Billy Walters over in the 25th minute.
- Selwyn Cobbo was proving a problem for the Knights with his kick-returns, putting the Broncos in prime field position with some strong carries before scoring the eventual match-winner.
- The Broncos hit the lead through Jordan Riki, who took advantage of a short ball to split Adam Clune and
- Newcastle lost Bradman Best to a dislocated elbow, the left centre in discomfort and expected to spend some time on the sidelines.
- Newcastle were denied tries twice with Dane Gagai and Lachlan Fitzgibbon losing the ball over the line.
- The Broncos kicked a penalty goal for a 14-6 lead after Jacob Saifiti took out Tyson Gamble in the air.
- Newcastle hit back through Ponga when he linked with bench forward Mat Croker to score up the middle of the field.
- Cobbo's effort a short time later, which was reviewed by the NRL Bunker with no obstruction ruled, enabled the Broncos to skip back out to an eight-point lead.
- A clumsy effort from Phoenix Crossland in the in-goal enabled Corey Oates to plant the ball down.
Play of the game
Selwyn Cobbo proved the difference in the second half, finished off with a match-winning effort that started with Kotoni Staggs and ended with the potential Origin bolter. The four-pointer, reviewed by the NRL Bunker, was deemed legal with the decision swinging the result in the Broncos' favour when the game was on the line.
What they said
"[The Selwyn Cobbo first try] is not the reason for the scoreline at the end. The three line breaks off kick chase hurt [more]. We can control that, none of the officials are involved in that, that's on us. [The Cobbo try] took the wind out of us. We're in a state of a bit of performance anxiety at the moment. I thought [Anthony Milford] had some good touches early and then he'd like some stuff back in the second half. It's probably a reflection of the whole team." - Knights coach Adam O'Brien.
"I'm particularly happy for the playing group and everyone involved at the club because there have been some tough days and tough years. We seem to be getting in front of the curb now which is really good. We weren't so great tonight in the first half but the boys came together and finished it off well. 'Oatesy' has come alive this year and Cobbo was always going to become the player he is. I love the way Selwyn goes about his work. The bigger the occasion the more involved he gets." - Broncos coach Kevin Walters.
Newcastle have a nine-day turnaround before preparing to travel to Redcliffe for a clash against the Warriors. Knights coach Adam O'Brien is unlikely to get anyone back on the injured list. The Broncos return home to Suncorp Stadium for a local derby blockbuster against the Titans. Skipper Adam Reynolds is likely to return for Kevin Walters in a boost for the side.
Story first published on NRL.com