Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce scores a try during the round six clash on Thursday night. Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle has heaped more pressure on a struggling Brisbane outfit after cruising to a 27-6 win at Central Coast Stadium on Thursday night.

The Knights started strongly and hit the front in the 10th minute when a Mitchell Pearce pass allowed Kurt Mann to dive over untouched.

Kalyn Ponga, fresh off signing a contract extension that will keep him at the club until the end of season 2024, booted the conversion for a 6-0 lead.

Brisbane was unlucky not to post its first points of the game just five minutes later when winger Corey Oates crashed across the line and forced the ball down despite a valiant effort from Newcastle’s Gehamat Shibasaki.

However, the bunker ruled that Broncos teammate Jamayne Isaako had illegally assisted Oates in scoring the try.

Isaako was then sent to the sin bin for a professional foul on Ponga in the 21st minute, and the Knights capitalised on the extra man.

A Mann grubber kick was scooped up by Hymel Hunt, who strolled across for a 10-0 scoreline. Ponga added the extra two.

Brisbane hit back in the 30th minute when talented youngster Xavier Coates intercepted a pass by former Bronco Andrew McCullough and raced 90 metres to score.

Herbie Farnworth kicked the conversion to make it 12-6.

Both sides wrestled for control before the break but the Knights gained the upper hand when, moments after repelling a dangerous Brisbane move, Pearce banged over a field-goal with 10 seconds remaining.

Shortly after the restart, Newcastle’s in-form prop, Daniel Saifiti, who had already clocked up 134 metres in the first half, crashed over.

Ponga kicked the conversion for a 19-6 scoreline.

Brisbane’s poor discipline struck again in the 59th minute when forward Patrick Carrigan was sin-binned for a late shot on Pearce, and Ponga nailed the penalty goal.

The game looked set to grind to a halt but, with two minutes left on the clock, Pearce jinked past some tired Broncos defenders and banged the ball down under the posts.

Ponga’s conversion rounded out the scoring.

The win puts Newcastle in second spot on the ladder ahead of the side’s round seven clash with North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday 27 June.

For Brisbane, the loss – its fourth in a row – saw the club sink to 12th.

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