The NYC Newcastle Knights had a big second half in very wet conditions, but in the end lost 34-24 to the Bulldogs at Hunter Stadium.
While the young red and blues were trailing 30-6 at the break, some strong work from the Knights’ forward pack in the second half saw them score four tries to the Bulldogs’ one.
It was a slow start to the game as both sides struggled to come to terms with the slippery pitch. It was the away side that broke the deadlock in the 12th minute though, D’Rhys Miller collecting a short pass from dummy-half to crash over the line.
Nine minutes later the Bulldogs were over again, as a set full of off the cuff passing resulted in a try to fullback Josh Bergamin.
It only got worse for the Knights though, as several minutes later back rower Miller got his second on the left edge.
Soon after winger Jason Finau crossed over as well, and five-eighth Adam Keighran made it four conversions from four attempts to leave the score sitting at 22-0.
It was dire times for the young Knights with some dire weather conditions coming in as well, but with 34 minutes on the clock the Novocastrians struck back following a Tom Starling intercept on the halfway line.
It took several strong carries from the forwards, but at the end of the set Nick Newman prodded through a grubber from short range for Sam Stone to ground the ball just before it went out of play.
Celebrations were short-lived though, as two minutes before half time Bulldogs centre Kiko Manu made a break to run 20 metres and score.
Ten minutes into the second half the Knights struck back following a dropped ball from their opponents, centre Heath Gibbs using his outside man as a decoy to slip through the defence and get over the line. Newman’s attempted conversion was off target, leaving the score at 30-10.
It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to hit back though, Finau grabbing his second on the wing five minutes later to restore the away side’s big lead.
It was proving an end-to-end affair now, and several minutes later the Knights returned serve with a try to lock Jayden Butterfield.
The home side were building up some steam now, and with 13 minutes left on the clock another forward in Tyrone Amey got over the line beneath the uprights. Newman converted to make the score 34-20, and then with two minutes left on the clock Nick Meaney offloaded the ball for Matt Soper-Lawler to shrug his way out of a tackle and score.
It looked as though a miracle comeback could be on the cards when Newman put in a chip for Soper-Lawler to make a break soon after, but the attack petered out and the final score remained 34-24.
The Knights are now left in tenth position with other teams still to play this round, as finals loom.
Newcastle Knights 24 (T: Stone, Gibbs, Butterfield, Amey, Soper-Lawler, G: Newman 2/5)
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 34 (T: Miller 2, Bergamin, Finau 2, Manu, G: Keighran 5/6)
1. Nick Meaney, 2. Bailey Jenkins, 3. Brayden Musgrove, 4. Heath Gibbs, 5 . Matthew Soper-Lawler, 6. Nick Newman, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Tyrone Amey, 9. Tom Starling, 16. Cameron King, 11. Eddy Tuilotolava, 12. Sam Stone, 10. Jayden Butterfield. Interchange: 13. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 14. Joe Morris, 15. Zac Hosking, 17. Jordan Pinnock.