Newcastle coach Nathan Brown has delivered a vicious post-match barb at Brisbane’s Wayne Bennett, saying his veteran counterpart should have thought with his “big head instead of his little head” when in charge of the Knights.
After Newcastle defeated Brisbane 15-10 on Saturday night, Brown walked out of his post-match media conference following a not-so-subtle dig at his predecessor.
In the lead-up to game, Bennett said Brown had to rebuild the Knights because the current Newcastle coach had been responsible for letting many star players leave.
It prompted Brown’s savage reply which seemed to make light of Bennett’s personal life.
“The old fox, he’s won seven premierships, he’s coached for 30 years and I ain’t ever publicly bagged Wayne or anyone,” Brown said.
“And then he comes and has a shot at me. I just don’t think he needs to behave like that.
“The reality is when Wayne came to town, if he thought with his big head rather than his little head … I wouldn’t have had to rebuild the joint.”
Brown was seemingly referring to the breakdown of Bennett’s 42-year marriage to former wife Trish.
Bennett met his current partner Dale Tynan when he coached at the Knights in 2012-14.
Tynan was the personal assistant to the Newcastle club doctor.
Kalyn Ponga fired Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium which heaped pressure on the out-of-form Broncos.
Ponga has arguably been the form fullback of the first five weeks of the season and was instrumental in the Knights’ third win of the year.
The Knights were the better side for most of the contest however the match went down to the wire after tries to Corey Oates and Anthony Milford set up a grandstand finish.
After a week in which questions were asked about Milford and Kodi Nikorima, the Broncos halves once again failed to stand up.
Meanwhile Ponga was rock solid in defence and dynamic in attack as he ran for 176 metres in a standout effort.
Despite having just turned 20 eight days ago and being 14 games into his first-grade career, he is increasingly looking ready-made for the State of Origin arena.
He set up the only try of the first-half when skipped to the outside of the Broncos defence, drawing in Kodi Nikorima, before shooting Lachlan Fitzgibbon through a hole.
Knights winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall had a howler of a night and the Broncos got their first points after he made a mess of a re-start.
Darius Boyd found a flying Corey Oates on the wing to beat Kenny-Dowall to the left corner to make it 13-4.
And when Anthony Milford powered his way over, it was suddenly 15-10 with five minutes on the clock.
However the Knights held on to break a six-game losing streak against the Broncos.
Bennett said his side had played themselves out of form and were lacking self belief.
“We’re just lacking a little bit of confidence right now,” Bennett said.
“Tonight was a big step forward for us.
“We’ve been clunky, we haven’t been able to consistently put it together. I thought tonight was a step in the right direction.”