THE Newcastle Knights, coached by Batemans Bay's Adam O'Brien, continued their best start to any season since the club's glory days with an emphatic 27-6 triumph against Brisbane Broncos at Central Coast Stadium on Thursday night.
Bouncing back from last week's 26-12 loss to Melbourne, the Knights are now riding high in second place on the ladder with four wins and a draw from the first six rounds.
Not since 2002, when as defending premiers they won each of their opening six games, have they been so well placed at the corresponding stage of the season.
A field goal from skipper Mitchell Pearce in the dying seconds of the first half, after tries from Kurt Mann in the ninth minute and Hymel Hunt in the 21st, gave the Knights a 13-6 lead at the interval.
Brisbane's try came against the run of play after a length-of-the-field intercept by winger Xavier Coates.
The Broncos did well to break even when fullback Jamayne Isaako was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 20th minute, as each team scored six points while he was serving his penance.
NSW Origin prop Daniel Saifiti continued his career-best form by powering over from close range in the 43rd minute.
Fullback Kalyn Ponga landed his third conversion to give the Knights a 13-point buffer.
The Broncos lost a second player to the bin in the 59th minute when lock Patrick Carrigan blindsided Pearce with a late shot long after he had passed the ball.
Pearce enjoyed the last laugh when he stepped and dummied his way over between the posts in the 78th minute to ice the win.
Brisbane's much-hyped pack, which included the likes of Payne Haas, Tevita Pangai Jnr and Matthew Lodge, were completely outmuscled in the battle up front.
The Knights' next assignment will be North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday week.