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Newcastle Knights 46 v Canterbury Bulldogs 22
The Newcastle Knights have produced a dominant performance to reinforce their Premiership claims tonight, running out convincing 46-22 winners over the Canterbury Bulldogs in Newcastle to kick off Round 3.
Aided by a dodgy no-try call against the Bulldogs in the opening minutes, the score was only 10-6 in favour of the home team midway through the first half before Andrew Johns inspired a late charge that produced four tries to take a 34-6 lead into the sheds at the break.
The Knights continued on with the job in the second forty, adding two further tries before Andrew Johns was subbed off and Danny Buderus was sin-binned, leading to a late Bulldogs revival. The final score flattered the Bulldogs somewhat, as they were totally outplayed in almost every aspect of the match.
The Knights were lead around as usual by the magical Johns, who had more than enough support from a dominant forward pack and the lethal Milton Thaiday, who finished with three tries.
The Bulldogs looked a mere shadow of the team that squashed the Tigers only a week ago. For once, Willie Mason didn't enjoy the Knight-life - and the rest of the team were made to look pretty ordinary as a result.
Newcastle Knights: 46
Tries: Milton Thaiday (3), Danny Buderus, Matthew Gidley, Todd Lowrie, Brian Carney
Goals: Andrew Johns 9/10
Canterbury Bulldogs: 22
Tries: Hazem El Masri, Andrew Emelio, Corey Hughes, Willie Mason
Goals: Hazem El Masri 3/4
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium
Referee: Steve Clark
Half time: Knights 34 Bulldogs 6
Welcome to EnergyAustralia Stadium for what promises to be a ripper of a match between the Knights and the Bulldogs!
For the Doggies, Mark O'Meley will start the match in place of Chris Armit. The Knights have slotted David Seage into a wing spot.
KICKOFF - We're underway!
3 min: NO TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Tony Grimaldi claims a try after picking up a dropped ball from a David Seage kick-return, but Steve Clark rules a penalty for a strip instead.
4 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights
Three straight penalties give the Knights an easy ride downfield, and Joey Johns capitalises with a gift two points.
6 min: NEWS Josh Perry makes an outstanding 50 metre run from the Bulldogs kickoff.
7 min: NEWS Matt Utai has left the field with a suspected broken rib after a legal Steve Simpson tackle. *Now confirmed*
10 min: NEWS Mark O'Meley is penalised for a blatant late shot on Andrew Johns - he had to sidestep to make the hit!
10 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights
Johns adds another two points following the O'Meley penalty.
11 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Hazem El Masri is on the spot to clean up a Knights fumble from the kick-off and gets the green light from the Video Ref.
El Masri converts his own try.
14 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
This time the Doggies drop the ball at the wrong end of the field, and Brian Carney finds himself on the end of a swift Knights backline movement to score the try.
Johns misses the conversion from out wide.
16 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle Knights
Brent Sherwin kicks a 20-metre restart out on the full, handing another easy penalty goal to Johns.
19 min: NO TRY Newcastle Knights
Danny Buderus crosses the line after backing up a great run from David Seage, but Steve Clark instantly rules a dropped ball without using the Video Ref.
26 min: NEWS The Knights have just survived three consecutive sets from the Dogs - still 10-6 to the Knights.
27 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
A beautiful try to Milton Thaiday here - he received the ball 35 metres out and steps, jinks and weaves through half the Bulldogs team to dot down under the posts.
Johns adds the extras.
30 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
The Dogs put their kick-off out on the full, and the Knights have taken full advantage. Danny Buderus skips across from dummy-half for the try, and Andrew Johns slots another goal.
34 min: NEWS Willie Mason concedes a penalty while in possession for a bit of niggle - and he was only 5 metres away from the Knights tryline!
36 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
The Knights continue to punish the Bulldogs mistakes. Plenty of wide ball movement presents half a chance to Matt Gidley, and he stretches out to score the try.
40 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
It's a carve-up! Thaiday crosses for his second with another display of dazzling footwork.
Johns kicks a great conversion from the touchline.
HALFTIME: Newcastle Knights 34 Canterbury Bulldogs 6
A classic first half of two halves - the Knights turned on the afterburners after 25 minutes to completely dominate the Bulldogs. It'll take a lot of hard work to turn this result around.
Possession: Knights 58% Bulldogs 42%
Completion: Knights 18/23 Bulldogs 12/16
Missed Tackles: Knights 7 Bulldogs 19
Total Metres Gained: Knights 756 Bulldogs 342 (!)
The second half is underway!
46 min: Still 34-6 to the Knights as the second half starts at a slightly slower pace than the first half finished!
47 min: NO TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Adam Perry tries to dart across from dummy half but loses the ball over the line. Still 34-6 Knights.
51 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
The Knights forwards are continuing to demolish the Bulldogs pack, giving Andrew Johns plenty of space to work his magic. This time Todd Lowrie takes an inside ball from Joey and slides under a couple of tackles to score.
58 min: TRY Newcastle Knights
Thaiday claims a treble after some more beautiful lead-up work from Johns. This score could blow out to anything now.
Johns successfully converts.
66 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
The Dogs finally get some ball down the Knights end of the field, and Andrew Emeilo crosses the line out wide after some good ball movement from the Doggies.
El Masri misses the conversion.
67 min: Andrew Johns has left the field for an early rest.
70 min: SIN BIN - Danny Buderus joins Joey for an early rest after a deliberate strip at the play-the-ball.
71 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Willie Mason strolls across the line after taking a short pass from Corey Hughes.
El Masri kicks the conversion from in front.
72 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
The Bulldogs are finding plenty of holes in the 12-man Knights team at the moment. This time Corey Hughes is on hand to finish a good break started by Roy Asotasi.
El Masri kicks the extras.
78 min: NEWS The Bulldogs have had two more chances to score, but dropped ball is proving their biggest enemy.
FULLTIME: Newcastle Knights 46 Canterbury Bulldogs 22
The Newcastle Knights have reinforced their Premiership claims this evening with a dominant victory over a surprisingly flat Bulldogs team by 46-22.
Possession: Knights 52% Bulldogs 48%
Completion: Knights 35/42 Bulldogs 26/34
Missed Tackles: Knights 20 Bulldogs 34
Errors: Knights 8 Bulldogs 13
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Andrew Johns (Knights)
2 - Josh Perry (Knights)
1 - Milton Thaiday (Knights)