Canberra crushed by Ponga & Best as Titans end winless run in thriller


Newcastle Knights continued their unbeaten start to the NRL season as Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best guided them to a 34-18 win over Canberra Raiders.

The Raiders, last season's beaten grand finalists, had made a 100 per cent start to the 2020 campaign.

But Canberra were undone in sublime fashion by full-back Ponga and teenage centre Best at Campbelltown on Sunday.

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They each had a hand in all of the Knights' six tries, Best crossing in the second minute and rounding things off in the 80th by doubling his tally. 

Ponga also went over as Newcastle took command with 16 first-half points, Edrick Lee's quickfire brace shortly after half-time effectively putting a one-sided contest beyond doubt.

The day's later game was a much more even affair, as Gold Coast Titans clinched their first win in nearly a year with a dramatic 28-23 victory over Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium.

The Tigers looked to be in charge when David Nofoaluma brilliantly plucked a kick out of the air to dot down for his second try, which Benji Marshall converted to make it 22-12.

However, Keegan Hipgrave powered over for his first NRL try and Brian Kelly crossed to level matters and set up a frantic finale.

Marshall's drop goal edged the Tigers in front with three minutes left but, after collecting a short kick-off that barely went the required 10 metres, Gold Coast secured a last-gasp triumph.

Phillip Sami chased down Kelly's kick on the last tackle and touched down to ensure Gold Coast avoided a 15th straight defeat and claimed a first win since June 9, 2019.

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