The NYC Knights lost 52-18 to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Hunter Stadium on Old Boys Day.
While it was a dissapointing loss this afternoon, the young side will no doubt bounce back next season with a better understanding of what it takes to challenge for higher honours in the Under 20s competition.
Jacob Gagai was almost first scorer out on the wing in the 7th minute when Bryce Donovan found some space for him. He was forced out of play by the Bulldogs’ defence though, and several minutes later the visitors made them pay with a try to centre Michael Morgan.
Hooker Brad Keighran added the extras to give his side a 6-0 lead and two minutes later the Bulldogs were nearly over again when winger Marcelo Montoya made a break, but Gagai did well to bring his powerful run to a halt just short of the line.
With a quarter of the game gone the Knights found their first points, Brock Lamb throwing a cut-out pass for Ken Tofilau to dive over in the corner. Lamb’s attempted conversion from the sideline went well wide though, and ten minutes later Bulldogs half Bronson Garlick extended his side’s lead when he collected a grubber from winger Ruebenn Rennie.
With six minutes remaining in the first half the visitors grabbed another, bench forward Royce Hunt barging his way over near the uprights. Keighran added the extras, and minutes later second-rower Renouf To’omaga ran through a gaping hole to push his side’s half-time lead to 20-4.
It only took the Bulldogs 90 seconds to score when proceedings resumed, Keighran finding too much space from dummy-half to run 20 metres and dive over.
Halfback Guy Hamilton converted, and two minutes later Reimis Smith put the Knights even further behind when he scored an easy try in the right corner.
The red and blues were well and truly in damage control now, and in the following set former NYC Knight Harry Pondekas added insult to injury when he finished off a 50-metre play with a try.
With 51 minutes gone the Knights finally steadied the ship, hooker Jack Kelly capping off a repeat set with a try. The resurgence was short lived though as Donovan’s conversion went wide and Pondekas scored his second minutes later.
The Knights picked themselves up off the canvas yet again though, with Tofilau grabbing his second of the afternoon five minutes later.
Bulldogs winger Reddie returned serve soon after with his second try though, and Smith grabbed his brace on the opposite wing minutes later.
Braden Robson pulled one back for the Knights with 11 minutes left on the clock to leave the final score at 52-18.
Newcastle Knights 18 (T: Tofilau, Kelly, Tofilau, Robson, G: Lamb 0/1, Donovan 1/3)
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 52 (T: Morgan, Garlick, Hunt; Keighran, Smith 2, Pondekas 2, Rennie, G: Keighran 2/3, Hamilton 4/6)
Donovan, Gagai, Birch, Robson, Tofilau, Lamb, Cogger, King, Kelly, Faitotoa, Smith, J Saifiti, B Stone. Bench: Fepuleai, S Stone, Butterfield, Starling.