Ponga and Best shine in Knights’ NRL win

Kalyn Ponga has put on a show and teenager Bradman Best has given Newcastle a glimpse of the future to help the Knights shock Canberra 34-18 at Campbelltown.

Playing together for the first time this year, Best and Ponga wreaked havoc on Sunday afternoon on Newcastle’s left edge as the Knights stayed undefeated for 2020.

The pair had a hand in all six of Newcastle’s tries, both crossing for one of their own to claim a massive scalp in downing the premiership favourites.

The win puts the Knights second on the ladder, as one of only three undefeated teams alongside top-placed Parramatta and Penrith. Newcastle drew last week with the Panthers.

Best’s showing came in just his fifth NRL game, with the highly touted 18-year-old almost certain to be a regular feature on the Knights’ left edge.

He looked damaging with every run, busting four tackles and scoring his first in just the second minute when Ponga put him over from a scrum play.

The teenager also set one up for fellow centre Enari Tuala, grubbering across field after a Mitchell Pearce bomb had been batted back to him.

Tuala was taken out by Jack Wighton before he could get a hand to the ball, with the bunker awarding a penalty try to make it 16-6 at halftime.

The centre put the icing on the cake in the final minute, grubbering through on a loose ball and getting his second.

Ponga was sublime with his hands.

He dummied and sliced his way through Elliott Whitehead and Wighton early in the game, going 40 metres to score.

He put Newcastle in control of the game after the break, throwing the last pass for Edrick Lee from another smart scrum movement.

Moments later, he threw a bullet cut-out ball for Best, putting the youngster in space and allowing Lee to go over for his second.

Canberra were their own worst enemies at times.

While Nick Cotric scored from a George Williams kick and Josh Papalii bounced through three defenders to cross to make a game of it in the second half, they made too many errors in the first.

The Raiders completed at just 59 per cent in the opening half-hour, coughing the ball up at their own end in the lead-up to two Newcastle tries.

Wighton in particular had a real rocks and diamonds day, making two errors and putting a ball into touch on the full.

But he also leapt high into the air to score a try as he took a Williams kick in the first half, before ending the game off the field after copping a late hit from Sione Mata’utia.

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1 Comment

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