Broncos roll dice, get rolled by Knights

Newcastle have beaten the misfiring Broncos 26-12 despite missing Origin star Kalyn Ponga. (AAP)

Brisbane could be in the bottom four of the NRL by the end of the round after falling to a 26-12 away loss to Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.

Anthony Seibold has vowed to persevere with his spine experiment despite Brisbane's disastrous performance in their 26-12 NRL loss to a David Klemmer-inspired Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium.

After they were pegged as pre-season top four contenders, the Queensland glamour club could be in the bottom four by the end of the weekend following their third straight loss.

Seibold rolled the dice on Saturday when he moved playmaker Anthony Milford to fullback in a positional swap with Darius Boyd, but the bold gambit failed to have its intended effect.

The Knights ran roughshod over the Broncos in the first half led by Klemmer who put in a typical five-star performance in his return from a three-week lay-off from a fractured wrist.

NSW prop Klemmer turned in a Herculean opening stint, playing the first 49 minutes before finishing with 196 run metres and 26 tackles.

"He was outstanding. To be out for a month and play the first 50-odd straight and lay a good platform for us was really pleasing," said Knights coach Nathan Brown.

"We didn't want to make four (interchanges) in the first half if we didn't have to. We thought he could push through and he was happy to push through."

Boyd - playing his first first-grade game at five-eighth - was quiet all night, running for just seven metres before being steamrolled by Jesse Ramien which allowed Mason Lino to score the match-winner.

Despite having 44 tackles inside the Knights' 20-metre zone - compared to the Knights' 11 - they were still out-classed four tries to two.

The Knights were dealt a massive blow when star fullback Kalyn Ponga was ruled out on game day with a calf injury which is threatening to rule him out of State of Origin III.

While Ponga's injury prompted a reshuffle, they lost little as Kurt Mann moved to fullback with the utility throwing the last pass for Edrick Lee's and Lachlan Fitzgibbon's tries.

They also lost Lee to a broken arm in the 18th minute.

The Knights smelt blood in the water at 18-0 up at halftime but couldn't have started the second-half in less impressive fashion.

Halfback Mitchell Pearce - who is being sized up for a NSW recall - failed to make touch twice in the space of three minutes and prop James Gavet was dubiously sin-binned for a high shot on Andrew McCullough.

The Broncos made the most of the extra man via a Thomas Flegler try and when Hymel Hunt spilled the ball seven metres from his own line, Kotoni Staggs crossed to make it an eight-point ball game.

But when Ramien ran through some feeble defence from Boyd, it killed off any threat of a Broncos fightback.

Broncos coach Seibold insisted having Milford at No.1 and Boyd as No.6 was their best option at the moment.

"I thought Milf looked pretty good at fullback and Darius will only get better as a half," he said.

Seibold said the Broncos were thrown off kilter by a serious shoulder injury to Richie Kennar which forced back-rower David Fifita into the backline and Boyd to defend at centre.

"It was a little bit funny because he (Boyd) had to defend in the centres and play in the halves. It's all about learning," he said.

Source AAP

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