Bulldogs make it 10 on the trot
The Bulldogs have withstood a determined Knights outfit to register their 10th straight victory with a 26-10 win in Newcastle.by NRL
The Bulldogs have withstood a determined Knights outfit to register their 10th straight victory with a 26-10 win in Newcastle.
Newcastle's opening set was strong but the Bulldogs wasted no time reminding everyone that they had won nine a row entering Round 22. The ball went to the right edge through Josh Reynolds and Krisnan Inu before Sam Perrett ran into the clear and stabbed a chip kick back in field for Joel Romelo who marked the ball to score in the 3rd minute. Inu made no mistake and the Bulldogs had an early 6-0 lead.
It stretched to 12-0 when Jonathan Wright snuck in behind Akuila Uate to get a forearm on Ben Barba's grubber kick and he received the green light for a benefit of the doubt try. Inu potted the kick from touch and it was all Canterbury-Bankstown after 7 minutes.
The deluge of points didn't end there with Wright grabbing his second thanks to a nicely executed move by Ben Barba who put Wright over untouched on the left. Inu slotted another kick from touch and it was the Bulldogs 18-0 leaders after 13 minutes.
The sizable Newcastle crowd finally had something to cheer about in the 15th minute when some smart cover by Darius Boyd foiled Inu's kick for himself, but the Bulldogs were well on top.
Josh Reynolds then produced a dipsy doodle from 15m out to split the Newcastle defence in the 17th minute and Inu's conversion saw the scoreboard hardly read in favour of the home team.
At 24-0 it was up to the Knights to drag themselves back into the game.
Interchange forward Neville Costigan added some punch when introduced and when the Bulldogs decided against taking an easy two points and went for a fifth try - Newcastle's defence held strong to give them some hope heading into halftime.
The flow of the game turned on that decision, but despite three straight penalties the Knights couldn't get on the board. The Novocastrian crowd however was for the first time, in the game.
Akuila Uate was throwing himself into his carries and almost busted the Bulldogs leading into halftime, but this time it was Canterbury-Bankstown holding firm.
The game had changed its feel, yet the Knights still had nothing to show for their improvement in the back end of the half... until Uate brought the crowd alive. He stormed through two defenders to score and the Knights had their reward. Tyrone Roberts missed the conversion to leave it 24-4 to Canterbury-Bankstown at halftime.
Newcastle had the early pressure in the second half, with a heads up cross-field kick by Zeb Taia nearly yielding results, but the Bulldogs were able to maintain their 20 point lead.
Then it was Uate's turn to again make something happen.
Jarrod Mullen's chip to the right corner turned Wright around and Uate snatched the ball out of the air, then ran over Barba to score his second. This time Roberts converted and the margin was now 14 points.
The Knights thought they had scored a third straight try but the video referee sent the decision back to Jason Robinson who ruled no try and the Bulldogs had to carry out another line drop out.
Three line drop outs and a penalty later... the Bulldogs had denied the Knights again.
With 15 minutes to go the Knights had yet another line drop out, after Barba had cleaned up yet another kick. But it was Barba who produced a superb tackle on Kevin Naiqama to deny the Novocastrian winger in the corner and the Knights still trailed by 14 points.
Timana Tahu raced into the clear with 7 minutes left but he dropped the ball attempting to kick ahead and that was the end of the Newcastle surge.
Inu capped the scoring off with a 30 metres penalty goal, and the Bulldogs were victorious 26-10.
Despite the loss the 29,482 fans who turned up at Hunter Stadium were treated to a quality game of footy. Canterbury march on towards securing the minor premiership, while the Knights aren't done with the Top 8 race just yet.
Des Hasler Press Conference
Follow rleague.com on Facebook
View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...