Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
Canterbury Bulldogs have held on to beat the Newcastle Knights in front of 15,286 patrons at ANZ Stadium with both sets of halves dominating the proceedings.
The win was very scrappy for the Bulldogs but they were able to come up with the points and win their fifth successive match after a slow start to the season.
Both sides had their opportunities throughout the match but it was a try to prop forward Aidan Tolman in the 68th minute that put the Bulldogs in front.
Hodkinson made no mistake with the conversion as his side led by four points with ten minutes remaining.
The game was turned on its head in the when Bulldogs five eighth Josh Reynolds went for a 40/20 deep inside his own half.
He was unable to find touch according to the officials with Knights winger James McManus batting the ball back in but from there the Bulldogs were not going to be easy to stop.
The Knights were first to score in the second with some brilliant passing and offloads saw Robbie Rochow go straight through the Bulldogs defence to slam the ball down left of the posts.
Jarrod Mullen made no mistake with his conversion to take his side to a 12-10 lead in the 47th minute of play.
Hodkinson made the conversion and the Bulldogs led 10-4.
On a quick set of six, the Knights had the bulldogs on the ropes when Mullen gave a quality pass to Robbie Rochow who offloaded between two defenders to Adam Cutherbertson who drew and passed the ball outwide.
James McManus was able to touch the ball down after some brute strength with the Knights locking the game up at 4-all in the 22nd minute.
Earlier Mitch Brown finished off a passing move which saw the Knights line stretched to score the first try of the match for the Bulldogs.
Both sides will now enjoy a weekend off with the representative round being played next week.
3 points - Josh Reynolds
2 points - James McManus
1 point - Aidan Tolman
LATE MAIL: Bulldogs - Mose Mbye will make his NRL debut tonight in jersey 19 as Tim Lafai failed a concussion test during the week. Greg Eastwood will also start the match with Dale Finucane shifting back to the interchange bench.
Welcome to League Unlimited's coverage of the Bulldogs-Knights NRL match. I hope you enjoy the call.
Alex McKinnon visited the Newcastle Knights shed to inspire his team mates. Great to see his positivity. Last Post currently being played to honour the ANZAC's and current solider serving over seas. Lest we forget.
Here we go. The Bulldogs have kicked off to the Newcastle Knights through halfback Trent Hodkinson and Prop Kade Snowden brings it to the Newcastle 10 metre line. Here we go. Tweet us your tips @leagueunlimited
1: Stand off Jarrad Mullen clears the ball just outside of halfway for the Knights. Winger Sam Perrett fields the kick and brings it back to the 20.
3: Knights defensive line putting a lot of pressure on the Canterbury outside backs. Chasing kicks hard.
5: With good field position the Bulldogs were unable to keep the ball in hand after a James Graham pass went to ground. The scrum was awarded to the Knights but overruled by the video ref. Bulldogs on attack.
7: TRY CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Scored by Mitch Brown. Kick to come.
After a good kick from Hodkinson, Josh Reynolds got high and out leaped everyone to bat the ball back to Josh Jackson. He takes the ball right, flicking the ball to Mitch Brown who easily scores out wide.
8: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson unsuccessful.
The halfback is unable to convert the try out wide, but the Bulldogs lead 4-0.
9: Bulldogs decide to run on the last with Corey Thompson clearing the ball from halfway. Knights scrum 10 from their own line.
10: Mullen plays for territory and places a well weighted kick into touch. Bulldogs have a scrum 15 from their line.
13: DROP OUT: The Knights are worrying the Bulldogs on their own line. On the last Mullen kicks towards the goal posts, hits it and Josh Reynolds kicks the ball into touch.
15: After an awkward play the ball the Knights were under pressure and Perrett fields the kick easily making it back to the field of play.
15: The kicking battle continues with Reynolds looking for a 40/20 but it goes into touch too early. Scrum Knights 30 metres from their own line.
16: The ball goes into touch after the ball is allowed to bounce. Bulldogs play the ball ten from their own line.
17: A brilliant kick from Ennis goes dead JUST after three Bulldogs defenders sprinted down, but Newcastle remained cool. 20 metre tap.
18: Snowden gets the Knights into the Bulldogs half.
18: Mullen puts a cross field bomb across to his outside backs but it is way too big and Brown easily catches the ball. 20 metre tap.
19: The Bulldogs are into the Knights half with four more tackles remaining.
20: After the Knights put immense pressure on the Bulldogs, Morris puts a kick in which is fielded by Boyd who brings it back to the 30 metre line.
20: Momentum with the Knights now who are back inside the Bulldogs half.
20: Mullen puts a grubber in and it is easily fielded by Perrett again.
21: Kicking game is keeping the Bulldogs in the match. Knights are very strong in defense so far.
21: The knights will receive a 20 metre tap after Trent Hodkinson puts the ball dead from a long way out.
21: After 22 minutes of play there is still no penalties.
22: Knights enter the Bulldogs half with 3 tackles.
22: VIDEO REF: Off the back off a good running play, James McManus crosses the line and has appeared to ground the ball.
22: TRY NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Scored by James McManus. Kick to come.
The video referee is quick to awarded the four pointer. The Knights really had the Bulldogs on the ropes. Mullen through a great long ball to Roberts who quickly passes it to Robbie Rochow who offloads to Cutherbertson passing a no look ball to his outside backs who finish the job.
24: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Conversion attempt by Tyrone Roberts unsuccessful.
The game is locked up with the conversion being missed. Bulldogs restart the match.
25: Mullen steps and goes straight through the Bulldogs defence. He passes it inside but the Knights are stopped. Bulldogs hold out and get the ball back through a 6th tackle.
28: THE Knights are on the attack inside the Bulldogs 20 metre line.
28: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Knights. Pushing in the ruck. BULL 0-2 NEW
30: The Knights played a little too expansive and the Bulldogs will have a 20 metre tap.
31: UNFORCED ERROR CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Tony Williams makes an unforced error.
The big forward tries to pick up a loose ball but it slips from his hands. Knights will have a scrum 30 from their own line.
32: DROP OUT: Mullen puts a good kick towards the corner and Perrett has no option but to ground the ball.
34: UNFORCED ERROR NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Dane Gagai makes an unforced error.
10 metres out from the Bulldogs line a backline play goes wrong after Gagai puts the ball down untouched.
34: Off the scrum Perrett was able to split the Knights line apart and get his side to halfway on the first tackle.
36: On the last Hodkinson puts it high but McManus easily fields the ball. 20 metre tap.
36: UNFORCED ERROR NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Beau Scott makes an unforced error.
A simple mistake from Scott. The Bulldogs will have a scrum 35 out from the try line.
38: TRY CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Scored by Sam Kasiano. Kick to come.
The Newcastle Knights open up with Tony Williams easily getting past Jarrod Mullen. ON the way to the try line he drew and passed the ball for Sam Kasiano to score under the posts.
39: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
The kick is good as the Knights let themselves down late in the half.
40: The Bulldogs knock it on on the Knights 40 metre line. Last chance here for the Knights.
40: That is all folks. The Bulldogs will take a six point advantage into the break.
40: We're back underway in the second half. Roberts kicks off, and it's too deep. James Graham stands over the dead ball line, and calmly earns his team a penalty on halfway.
44: The Bulldogs looked to have scored, after kicking deep into the Knights in goal. The video referee takes a look at it, and rules that the ball has gone out over the sideline. NO TRY.
43: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Knights. Hand on the ball. BULL 1-3 KNI
44: The Knights now with their first attacking set of the half. The Bulldogs are penalised late in the tackle count, and the Knights are helped out of their own half.
45: The Knights go close with Beau Scott but it is tackle three and a play the ball for the Knights.
45: The dogs have touched the ball and given the Knights a new set of six.
49: The Bulldogs working the ball away from their end now - a strong run from Tim Browne gains almost 20 metres, before Hodkinson is hammered to the ground on the last.
49: The Knights get the ball and will start the set from within the Bulldogs half, due to the Bulldogs not getting a kick in.
50: Houston takes the ball up the middle, before Mullen perfectly weights a grubber into the in-goal. Perrett can't escape, and the Knights will get the ball back.
51: The Knights get a penalty - James Graham continues with the tackle after held was called, and the Knights will kick for goal.
52: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Penalty goal attempt by Tyrone Roberts successful.
Roberts attempts the kick from 23 metres out, and puts it straight between the posts. The Knights take the lead for the first time in this game.
53: Mullen puts a kick in. Perrett fields it and runs it 15 metres from his own line.
54: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Bulldogs. Hand on the ball. Reynolds takes a kick tap and gets his side into the Knights half.
55: Reynolds put it high to the corner and Mitch Brown knocks it back into the Knights.
56: Tyrone Roberts is limping and on the Bulldogs are working the ball out from their own half.
57: VIDEO REF: Referee says no try but there seems to be some confusion after a falcon and mishaps from both sides.
57: NO TRY: Josh Morris has knocked the ball. Handover to Newcastle 10 from their own line.
58: Mbye fields a Gagai kick and the Bulldogs will try and work it out of their own half now.
59: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Bulldogs. High tackle.
59: Bulldogs inside the 30 metre zone now. On the attack.
61: Tyrone Roberts has gone for a touch finder but the ball goes out on the full and the Bulldogs will get the ball back on halfway.
63: Josh Reynolds kicks the ball across field but it is way too low and the Knights have the ball, working from their line.
63: A risky pass from Perrett to Mbye ten from their own line had a hint of a forward pass but the referee says play on.
64: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Bulldogs. Interfering with the Ruck.
65: Bulldogs are deep inside the Knights half on the attack.
65: A terrible pass from the Bulldogs goes into touch. Des Hasler is blowing up as his side just has not been able to put their game together tonight. They are not out of it yet with 15 minutes to play.
67: The Knights are keeping the Bulldogs in their own half with great defence.
67: Josh Reynolds kicks the ball from deep inside his own half went for a wonderful 40/20 but McManus JUST keeps the ball in the field of play and the Knights are under pressure and are struggling to come out of their half.
68: Roberts clears it but Perrett fields it and throws it long to Morris who takes it over halfway. Bulldogs have some wind in their sails now.
69: VIDEO REF: A cross field kick from Hodkinson may have paid off with Tolman ground the ball. Ref says try.
69: TRY CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Scored by Aiden Tolman. Kick to come.
Bulldogs winger Corey Thompson is able to bat the ball back and Tolman is able to flick the ball up, catch it and score the try. Bulldogs get out of jail after a hint of a knock on.
70: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
The halfback has converted the try and his side will now lead by four with just ten minutes to go. The kick from Josh Reynolds has really turned this game on its head. Brilliant play.
70: Knights get the game back underway. Important set now from the Bulldogs.
71: A silly offload attempt from Klemmer has gone to the Knights after Rochow was able to knock it back. Knights inside the Bulldgos half on the attack.
73: A bad kick on the last play from the Knights has Ennis cleaning the ball up. Bulldogs hold on for now.
73: Knights inside the Bulldogs 10.
74: The bulldogs play at the ball and the Knights have a new set 10 from the try line.
75: Boyd pops the ball up but the centre is missing and the ball goes to ground. Bulldogs defence stays firm.
76: Not long to go and any team could win it from here.
76: There is 15,286 people at the game tonight!
77: Mullen puts a high kick up but the Bulldogs hold on with Finucane wrapping up the ball.
78: Another good kick from Reynolds finds touch 10 metres out from the Knights try line; Knights will feed the scrum but have 90 metres to run.
78: Knights just can't break the Bulldogs' wall.
79: INFRINGEMENT: Penalty Knights. Not releasing player after held call.
79: There will be a last ditch effort from the Knights after a questionable call. Michael Ennis blows up at the referee. Kick for touch from halfway for the Knights. They can still win this match.
79: A high kick from Mullen is collected by the Bulldogs and the siren sounds.
80: The Bulldogs have held on at ANZ Stadium to win 16-12 over an emphatic Newcastle Knights side.