Knights' Best sets record straight after Bali holiday
Newcastle centre Bradman Best has revealed he spent part of his much-maligned Bali holiday helping a local family build a house in their village, and says his starring performance on his return "shoved it in the faces" of those who criticised him for the trip.
The Knights were thrashed 43-12 by Parramatta in the week before the bye and received even more scrutiny when it came to light members of the playing group were planning overseas holidays for round 10, rather than remaining in Newcastle to train.
A proposed team trip to Bali was at the centre of the media attention, but in actuality, Best was the only player who travelled to the notorious party island.
"(The media) came at me but that's fine," Best told AAP.
"I was more pissed off that they came at the whole team when literally it was only me."
Rather than immersing himself in the nightlife, Best spent his time abroad relaxing, getting a new tattoo and catching up with his friend Yoki, whom he met on a previous visit.
Yoki is in the process of building a house for his young family and Best helped bankroll the construction project.
"This lad (Yoki) is about my age, his family, they live in a village and they're building a house at the moment to better their family," Best said.
"I just try and help him and his family out and they're really appreciative.
"That's why I love going there, just to give back.
"I was helping him and his family, feeding them. I love the culture, the vibe over there, everything about it, I really love the community over there.
"(The media) stereotype it as this off-season piss-up trip, boy's trip, getting pissed every day. I went there to shut off and disconnect and reconnect. I really enjoyed my time over there and wouldn't change it."
In the Knights' first game back against Gold Coast on Sunday, Best forged a fruitful combination with new five-eighth Kalyn Ponga that has the potential to continue sparking the hot-and-cold Novocastrians this season.
Best crossed for two second-half tries as Newcastle recorded their biggest win of the season and the centre felt vindicated following a week of criticism.
"All the media can have a say but we just proved a point tonight, so it was good," Best said.
"I sort of shoved it back in their face.
"They all come at me and I can laugh at them now. The whole team can, so it's good."
Ponga had failed to fire in the loss to the Eels but had his best performance for the Knights in recent memory against the Titans, coming up with a try and three assists.
"I was saying to him all day, the kid's back," Best said.
"We all know what he's capable of and he showed it.
"I'm so happy and proud of him. He shut a few people up himself."