The Newcastle Knights have defeated the Bulldogs 22-12 in a very scrappy game of football at ANZ Stadium in Homebush tonight.
The game started terrible for the Bulldogs with James MacManus scoring out wide in the opening 5 minutes of the game.
The Bulldogs hit back 10 minutes later, with a strong try to powerful winger Matt Utai, beating 4 defenders to score under the posts. That was the only highlight for the dogs in the first half, as they could not control the ball, continually giving Newcastle the ball at will.
Newcastle eventually made them pay, with rookie Junior Sau scoring outwide in the 25th on the end of a harlem-globetrotter like play.
Terrible field conditions didnt help either side, as players were constantly falling over, both in attack and defence.
The second half started out better than the first, with both sides hanging onto the ball and not giving each other field position or territory.
But in the 53rd minute, an unusual decision by referee Sean Hampstead not to check a possible try to Andrew Ryan, after replays clearly showing the Bulldogs skipper grounding the ball after Jarrod Mullen failed to clean a loose ball up.
The decision proved costly, as the Knights scored in the next set with Wes Naiqama sending Cooper Vuna away, eventually putting Junior Sau over for his second.
The Bulldogs were let of the very next set, with raging prop Danny Wicks making a strong charge putting the Knights on the attack.
A Jarrod Mullen grubber looked like Junior Sau had his hat-trick, but Hampstead didnt make the same mistake, sending it upstairs to the video ref, eventually showing the young rookie not grounding the ball.
A rare bust by the Dogs ended in tragedy in two ways. Matt Utai injuring his knee, before Chris Bailey put veteran Adam MacDougall over to seal the game.
A late try to Nick Youngquest gave the Dogs a late sniff, but the Knights kept them at bay.
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match
3 Points: Chris Houston (Knights) 2 Points: Chris Bailey (Knights) 1 Point: Junior Sau (Knights)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary BULLDOGS: 1. Nick Youngquest 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Daryl Millard 4. Tim Winitana 5. Matthew Utai 6. Daniel Holdsworth 7. Ben Roberts 8. Charlie Leaeno 9. Corey Hughes 10. Brad Morrin 11. Nick Kouparitsas 12. Andrew Ryan 13. Reni Maitua Interchange: 14. Frank Winterstein 15. Lee Te Maari 16. Fred Briggs 17. Aaron Groom KNIGHTS: 1. Wes Naiqama 2. James McManus 19. Junior Sau 4. Adam MacDougall 5. Cooper Vuna 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Scott Dureau 8. Danny Wicks 9. Matt Hilder 10. Jesse Royal 11. Chris Houston 12. Cory Paterson 13. Zeb Taia Interchange: 14. Chris Bailey 15. Daniel Tolar 16. Richard Fa'aoso 17. Cameron Ciraldo
Welcome to ANZ stadium. A couple of team changes, Keith Lulia is replaced by Junior Sau and Aaron Groom comes in for the dogs. Kick off is moments away.
1st min: Bulldogs kick off. Penalty Newcastle on the second tackle
2nd min: Youngquest defuses a bomb. Millard knock on from dummy half
6th min: Game stopped, Corey Hughes receiving some attention
8th min: Bulldogs recieve a penalty but fail to find touch
11th min: Bulldogs are making too many mistakes. Knights on the attack inside their 50m
12th min: Naiqama penalised for walking off the mark. Dogs find touch but lose the ball... AGAIN!
14th min: Dogs on the attack inside their half for the first time
15th min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Great backline movement see's Utai score under the posts Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. 6 all
19th min: Corey Patterson off loads for Naiqama but the pass is ruled forward
20th min: Another bulldogs mistake, Knights on the attack
24th min: Knights about to recieve another line drop out, can the Dogs hold on?
27th min: Knights receive a penalty. Drop ball on the first tackle. Dogs on the attack
28th min: Right on time, the Dogs drop the ball.
29th min: Corey Patterson 1-1 stip on El Masri. Dogs penalised for a 2-1 strip.
33rd min: Bulldogs on the attack inside the Knights 20
33rd min: Again, poor handling lets the Knights off.
35th min: Checking a possible try to the dogs...
35th min: No try to Hazem El Mazri.
37th min: Dogs on the attack just before half time.
38th min: Knights survive, 20m restart
40th min: Hopefully the second half is more controlled. Poor ball handling has contributed to the lack of flair in this game.
Half time: Knights 10-6
51st min: Handling has improved out of sight, neither team making mistakes and denying the other field position
53rd min: Hampstead calls a goal line drop out, but replays show a Bulldogs try. Bulldogs lose the ball, a big decision
55th min: TRY Newcastle Knights Wes Naiqama puts Cooper Vuna away who turns Junior Sau inside for his second try. This hurts the bulldogs as they were denied a chance for a try 2 minutes ago Conversion attempt by Wes Naiqama successful. Newcastle Knights 16-6
56th min: A Danny Wicks breaks puts Newcastle on the attack
57th min: Checking a possible Newcastle try NO TRY.
71st min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Fullback Nick Youngquest scores under the posts. A chip n chase sees the Bulldogs hit back Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Newcastle Knights 22-12
75th min: Youngquest defuses a Jarrod Mullen chip, 20m restart.
Full time: Knights 22-12