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Warriors go down to Knights after late defensive blunder gifts Newcastle match-winning try

Warriors coach Nathan Brown was handed another bitter pill by Newcastle on Friday night as the NRL team he helped build stole a 20-16 victory in Gosford.

A year since Brown was shown the door and replaced by Adam O'Brien, the former Knights coach watched on as players he helped develop ran home late over his new gritty side.

Teenage centre Bradman Best was handed his NRL debut by Brown at the end of 2019 and on Friday night showed why he's one of the brightest young talents in the NRL.

The 19-year-old was under an injury cloud with an ankle sprain coming into the match, but showed the depth of his skill with two stunning try-assists for Hymel Hunt's double.

His first was a slick flick pass to Hunt on the left edge to put the Knights in front by eight early in the second half, but the best of the two came to seal the victory with  four minutes left on the clock.

The Knights were down by two after conceding a try to Ken Maumalo at the opposite end when he came up with a line-break and offload to Hunt in support who scored under the posts.

Although Brown said there was no extra emotion in the build up against his old side, he too marvelled at Best's ability and the development of the Knights' side.

"I hope the Knights do well," Brown said.

"I was there for nearly four years and people like (Daniel and Jacob Saifiti) and Mitch Barnett, those three blokes played in the hardest time of any kids that I've seen play first grade when the Knights basically had a reserve grade side and those kids were playing first grade.

"I remember telling them 'first grade is actually a lot easier than what you blokes are going through'.

"They were always going to become good players.

"(Mitchell Pearce) took a big chance coming to the Knights, so you want to see those boys have success. They're good boys.

"What's rugby league if Newcastle don't have a good footy team?"

Ironically, Jayden Brailey scored his first try for the Knights 18 minutes in when he darted from dummy half to score.

In 2019 Brown did all the work to lure Brailey to the Knights from Cronulla, where he was fast-emerging as one of the game's top young hookers.

Brailey joined on the understanding he would be playing for Brown in 2020, only for the coach to be sacked by the club less than a month after he signed.

Brailey's craftiness and speed around the ruck is what made Brown pursue him for the Knights' pack, but that same skill came back to bite him.

However, it didn't take long for the Warriors to hit back when Ben Murdoch- Masila crashed through lapse defence 30 minutes in to level the scores at 6-all.

Tries to Adam Pompey and Maumalo put the Warriors in the lead late before the Knights raced home for their second straight win without injured stars Kalyn Ponga, Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Blake Green.

"We're not the finished product, we've got a lot of quality to come back, we've got five guys missing from this team that would make the 17," O'Brien said.

"There are some guys to come back but what we've got in there not is a young group who are hungry to keep fighting every day."

Meanwhile, the Warriors will be waiting on the NRL's charge sheet on Saturday morning with two players put on report in the first half in Gosford.

Prop Jamayne Taunoa Brown was put on report for crusher tackle on Hunt, while Jazz Tevaga was pinged for leading with his knee in a tackle on Best.