Things just didn't go the nib Newcastle Knights way, with a disappointing 36-16 loss to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday evening.
Despite an unlucky first half, with key playmakers Kalyn Ponga and Slade Griffin off with injury, the Knights dug deep to record a four-point buffer by halftime.
But costly mistakes and a revamped Dogs after the break saw the visitors stage an outright scoring attack to claim the match by 20 points.
The Bulldogs were lucky after a couple of off-load errors early but a display by the backs in the 17th minute gifted the visitors their first points for the evening.
Reimis Smith broke free on the edge to run 40 metres down field and he dished off just in time to Kerrod Holland who weaved his way past Connor Watson for the try. Rhyse Martin added the extras as the Dogs led 6-0.
A blow for the Knights as Ponga left the field injured, but it didn't stave momentum from the home side as Connor Watson barged his way to the line over defenders to record the Knights first.
Ken Sio took on kicking duties and sent the ball straight through the upright to level scores at 6-all.
The Dogs took advantage of some sloppy defence on their line, as Holland received the ball from dummy half and slipped through a gap to dive over for the double. Martin accurately booted the kick to see the visitors lead, 12-6.
Herman Ese'ese charged at the line in the 32nd minute and thanks to a precision pass out of dummy half by Slade Griffin, the Knights forward barrelled through the pack for another four pointer.
But that great play came at the expense of another red and blue injury, as Griffin was carted from the field after he suffered an unfortunate leg injury. Sio slotted the kick from straight in front and levelled the score line 12-all.
It was the Watson show as the young five-eighth faked his way to the line in the 36th minute to stage an impressive double. This time Sio missed the conversion, but the Knights hit the front, to head to the break 16-12.
In the second half, the Bulldogs were quick to occupy the board thanks to wide open space on the right edge. Smith took advantage and hugged the sideline to carry the ball over before Martin booted three from three to see the Dogs hit the lead, 18-16.
The wave of momentum kept in favour of the visitors as Jeremy Marshall-King picked up the crumbs of a stray ball and slammed it across the line 46 minutes in. Martin again added the extras for the Dogs to strengthen their lead, 24-16.
A forward pass error from the Dogs gifted a repeated set to the Knights 20 metres out but the home side couldn't penetrate the defensive line, to land it back in Bulldogs hands.
The Knights had ample chances within their 20, but advantages were lost as the Bulldogs continued to spoil the Knights run for more points.
Lucky for the Knights a high ball by the Dogs, which finished with the points, was called back and determined a no try after the replay showed to have shaved blue and white fingertips and was deemed a knock on.
The night continued to get worse for the red and blue as a mistake saw the visitors edge closer to the line and Fa'amanu Brown took on Watson at the line to barge his way over in the 72nd minute.
Martin kept his perfect kicking record in tact with another through the posts. Bulldogs led 30-16.
A frustrated Knights succumbed to another try by the Bulldogs with seven seconds on the clock as captain Josh Jackson gathered a wayward ball from the grubber to ground it over the line.
A determined Bulldogs were just too good for Newcastle as Martin put the nail in the coffin with successful kick number six to record a 36-16 win.
Knights 16 (T: Watson 2, Ese'ese G: Sio 2/3)
Bulldogs 36 (T: Holland 2, Smith, Marshall-King, Jackson, Brown G: Martin 6/6)