For the last few weeks the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have held on to that last throw of the dice to keep their 2010 season alive. This afternoon at EnergyAustralia Stadium the dice rolled nothing but snake eyes as they crashed to a 30-6 defeat against a red-hot Newcastle Knights. The Knights continued their attacking touches that saw them rack up a big victory against Manly-Warringah last week to keep their hopes of a finals appearance alive.
The Knights attack was lead by the backline, particularly Cooper Vuna who made massive ground on several occasions. The attack of the Bulldogs was lead by poor execution and bad handling as the side that was feared for their attack just twelve months ago looked like the shadow of that team.
Captain Courageous Kurt Gidley began the point scoring early in the game, playing a rare game in the number seven jersey, powering his way over the line. Gidley also managed to convert from the sideline to extend the lead. From there the game turned into a bit of an arm wrestle as both sides struggled to gain the upper hand in the game. Jarrod Mullen turned the game mid-way through the half as a short ball hit Shannon McDonnell, who ran the length of the field to extend the Knights lead to 12-0. Mullen was involved again to send Isaac De Gois over minutes later, sending Newcastle to their eventual half-time lead of 18-0.
The Bulldogs were facing the same fate they did in Round 1 when they were at unbackable odds, and the second half didn't start well as Cooper Vuna beat Luke Patten to a loose grubber to send the Knights lead to 24-0. With nothing to lose, the Bulldogs started to throw the ball around, but couldn't manage to get on the board. The backline of Newcastle once again chimed in at the hour mark of the game, sending veteran Adam MacDougall crashing over the line.
Bulldog Ben Barba put in a solo effort to finally get Canterbury on the board, but it wasn't enough as Newcastle finished the game with some great attacking pieces, including a disallowed try to Junior Sa'u.
The season of the Knights remains alive, sitting four points outside the top eight. The Bulldogs sadly are gone for the year, after so much promise. The match ended with promising young star Ben Barba injured, creating more bad news for Bulldogs fans.
Newcastle Knights 30 defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 6
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 22 - Sunday August 8, 2010 2:00pm
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger and Ashley Klein
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Russell Turner and Adam Devcich
Halftime: Newcastle Knights 18 Canterbury Bulldogs 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cooper Vuna (1 Try)
2 Points - Jarrod Mullen
1 Point - Junior Sau
Newcastle Knights (30)
Tries: Kurt Gidley, Adam MacDougall, Cooper Vuna, Isaac De Gois, Shannon McDonnell
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (5/5)
Penalty Goals: Kurt Gidley (0/1)
Canterbury Bulldogs (6)
Tries: Ben Barba
Conversions: Bryson Goodwin (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to EnergyAustralia Stadium for the Knights clash with the Bulldogs.
Knights - Antonio Kaufusi and Cameron Ciraldo to start, Daniel Tolar moves to bench, alongside Mark Taufua. Con Mika out.
Bulldogs - Yileen Gordon moves to bench, Dene Halatau out. Toyota Cup - Newcastle 26 (N.Dwan 2, T.Roberts, R.Mason, W.Smith tries, C.Marlborough 3/3, P.Mata'utai 0/1, T.Roberts 0/1 goals) drew Canterbury 26 (N.Millner-Skudder 2, R.Tagive, N.Massey, T.Lafai tries, A.Sezer 3/5 goals).
3 min: Errors from both teams early on.
6 min: TRY
Captain Courageous goes over, straight through the defence for the first try of the match.
Newcastle Knights 6-0
12 min: Bulldogs attacking well, a Barba kick earns them a drop-out.
15 min: Defence a little worrying from both sides so far.
15 min: Now Barba shoots a forward pass.
18 min: The errors still creeping in, a handful to both clubs.
21 min: A dropped ball from Gidley ends a Knights attacking run.
24 min: TRY
Shannon McDonnell receives a short Jarrod Mullen pass, going all the way to the line.
Newcastle Knights 12-0
32 min: TRY
This is definitely not like the Bulldogs we saw a week ago. De Gois over to continue the Knights' charge.
Newcastle Knights 18-0
37 min: Kurt Gidley seems to have been in everything today, both good and bad!
37 min: Ennis getting under Newcastle's skin there...
40 min: Late penalty to Newcastle.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT
From nearly 60 metres out, Gidley kicks it short. Half time blows with Newcastle up by 18.
Newcastle Knights 18-0
40 min: Second half underway!
43 min: Video Referee - Possible Knights Try
43 min: TRY
Benefit of the doubt as Vuna wins a race to the kicked ball.
Newcastle Knights 24-0
49 min: A combination of bad fifth tackle options and brave Newcastle defence is keeping the Bulldogs out.
54 min: Despite being 24-0 down, the Bulldogs are starting to gain a fair amount of momentum.
60 min: TRY
The Newcastle backline put on a brilliant movement, finishing in an Adam MacDougall try. A victory to the Knights is assured as Bulldogs fans will now be looking forward to 2011.
Newcastle Knights 30-0
65 min: Cooper Vuna takes a short kick-off and breaks through a handful of defenders. Wasn't this the guy that just came back from Reserve Grade?
66 min: Bryson Goodwin knocks on attempting an intercept.
68 min: TRY
Barba performs one of those solo efforts to get Canterbury on the board.
Newcastle Knights 30-6
71 min: Possible try to the Knights!
71 min: No try!
76 min: The Knights still managing to throw everything (and more) at the Bulldogs, cannot seem to get try number six though.
80 min: That's fulltime, Newcastle defeat Canterbury 30-6.