2 days ago
Dogs upset victors as Knights' injury crisis deepens
Canterbury have pulled a surprise, scoring 24 unanswered second half points to down an injury-hit Newcastle side 36-16 at McDonald Jones Stadium tonight.
Unrated coming into the contest following a fortnight of difficult player movement news, the Bulldogs were expected to be dominated by a Knights outfit boasting Queensland prodigy Kalyn Ponga and the ever-improving Connor Watson.
Following a slow but steady dominance of the opening 15 minutes, Canterbury finally got on the board through a brazen right-side play - Jeremy Marshall-King with quick hands found Reimis Smith down the sideline, who opted to drift inside before turning a ball outside to Kerrod Holland who completed the movement for the opening try.
Newcastle hit back quickly in a first half that was largely tit-for-tat, Watson escaping the attentions of Bulldogs' defenders to ensure scores were level shortly after the 20-minute mark.
The Knights' fortunes weren't great despite the try, with Kalyn Ponga having gone off prior to the first try of the match, and by the half-hour mark he was confirmed not returning after sustaining a hamstring injury.
Canterbury were next onto the scoresheet when Holland picked up his second of the evening, diving over from first receiver and taking advantage of some lazy line defence from his opposites. Again the 'Dogs let Newcastle back in though, Herman Ese'ese scoring a couple of minutes later under the posts and again the scores were even, this time at 12-all. The try was soured by the loss of hooker Slade Griffin, who appeared to have picked up yet another serious leg injury in a career already plagued by difficulty with injury.
Watson wasn't done yet for the first half - he climbed over for the Knights' third three minutes before the break and the home side took a four-point lead to the change of ends.
The Bulldogs came bursting out of the blocks in the second half and were back in front just six minutes after the resumption when Smith scored in the corner, Rhyse Martin's conversion continuing his perfect record for the evening.
They doubled up in the set following the try, Marshall-King pouncing on a mismanaged Smith grubber by the Knights' outside men, and suddenly the Bulldogs were eight ahead after trailing by four at halftime.
Newcastle dominated the middle section of the second half but failed to put on points - the loss of Ponga and Griffin telling as Watson and Cogger struggled to provide direction for the home team.
As the contest wound down, Canterbury were able to secure the win seven minutes from time when Nu Brown dived over from dummy half, while a try to captain Josh Jackson on fulltime sealed a memorable win for a team having a poor season.
Newcastle have the bye and will want to use it to recalibrate ahead of a home game after the bye against Parramatta, while Canterbury host Canberra next week, minus Origin prop David Klemmer, at Belmore.
Newcastle Knights 16 - Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 36
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 16 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - David Klemmer
2 points - Jeremy Marshall-King
1 points - Kerrod Holland
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (16)
Tries: Connor Watson (2), Herman Ese'ese
Conversions: Ken Sio (2/3)
CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS (36)
Tries: Kerrod Holland (2), Reimis Smith, Jeremy Marshall-King, Fa'amanu Brown, Josh Jackson
Conversions: Rhyse Martin (6/6)