While the build up to tonight's game had the red hot favourites at ANZ Stadium as the Canterbury Bulldogs, quietly in the background all week, the Newcastle Knights went about their business until kick-off.
Once the whistle sounded the Knights showed the home side they meant business, and 6 minutes into the match they posted their first of the fours tries scored in the match which they won by 20-16.
Total commitment on defence saw the Newcastle side stomp on any attack the Bulldogs tried to put together, and support each other continuously on attack.
By halftime it looked as though there was a major upset in the pipeline as the Knights stretched their lead to 16-0.
The Bulldogs tried to get into 2nd gear in the match however unforced errors and smothering defence, along with a bit of rain, meant their night was not going to end the way they wanted.
The home side managed to claw their way back into the match and in the end only the boot of Ennis with 0/4, the difference between a loss or a victory.
The Knights, along with their Juniors side, came to ANZ Stadium tonight with bucket loads of self belief, and it paid dividends.
Match Details Canterbury Bulldogs 16 were defeated by Newcastle Knights 20 National Rugby League - NRL - Round 1 - Saturday March 13, 2010 5:30pm Venue: ANZ Stadium Referee: Jason Robinson and Bernard Sutton Video Referee: Sean Hampstead Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Ricky McFarlane Crowd: 18921 Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 0 Newcastle Knights 16
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS (16)
Tries: Steve Turner (2), Josh Morris (2)
Conversions: Michael Ennis (0/4)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (20)
Tries: Mark Taufua, Cooper Vuna, Junior Sau, Akuila Uate
Conversions: Wes Naiqama (2/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Great conditions for the 3rd game in the 2010 NRL season. The Bulldogs red hot favourites. If the Knights can repeat the performance from their NYC side earlier today, scoring 22 unanswered points to seal a hard fought victory, we're in for an entertaining evening.
All set to go in front of a lively crowd at ANZ Stadium. Both teams as per programme
1 min: Ennis gets the game underway.
2 min: Nice solid set by the Knights to start the game. The Bulldogs however, split the defence as Idris heads off down the sideline. Set finishes with a forward pass over the sideline.
4 min: First penalty goes the Knights way who attack 20 metres out from their line.
5 min: Video ref used to view an obstruction. Play on is the call with the Bulldogs awarded the penalty.
6 min: Soft turnover with a penalty going the Knights way, and they're on attack again 10 metres out.
7 min: TRY
5th tackle option is a kick by Dureau out to his winger, who obliges nicely.
Newcastle Knights 4-0
10 min: The Bulldogs chant goes up around the ground as the try scorer Vuna is mowed down by his opposite Turner.
11 min: Penalty Bulldogs and they attack from 10 metres out.
14 min: End to end play for now as both sides manage to get thru their sets but no real breaks.
15 min: Mullen puts in a huge kick on the 5th tackle resulting in a goal line dropout for the Knights.
16 min: TRY
Following the goal line dropout, Uate side stepped his opposite man to score out wide.
Newcastle Knights 10-0
19 min: Charge down by Ennis on the 5th tackle kick and the crowd come alight. More so when the Bulldogs are given a penalty 10 metres out from their line.
21 min: The Bulldogs guilty of coughing up possession on attack as the Knights pounce on anything loose.
21 min: The Knights rampaging their way to the tryline following yet another penalty. Desperation defence is the Bulldogs only saving grace. Completion rate Knights 10/13, Bulldogs 3/7.
26 min: Video ref used to determine try or no try for Knights.
27 min: TRY
Idris missing a very important take under the high ball, and is made to pay big time as the Knights score yet again.
Newcastle Knights 16-0
31 min: The enthusiasm by the Knights players shutting down any sign of attack by the Bulldogs
34 min: Relentless attack by the Newcastle side with the little things going their way. The Bulldogs looking a bit weary.
38 min: The Knights not forcing errors, happy to play thru their sets while the Bulldogs are making the errors as they try desperately to get back into the game.
40 min: A penalty to the Knights finishes off a great half for the visitors.
40 min: HALFTIME: Only one team in this game so far with the Knights showing their keenness from the initial kick off. The Bulldogs need to do a bit of soul searching to get themselves right back into the match.
41 min: Second half underway and the Knights regather possession 10 metres out from their line. Bad start by the Bulldogs.
42 min: Goal line dropout - Knights.
44 min: Better defence by the Bulldogs to stop a Knights pack hell bent on scoring.
46 min: Relieving penalty to the Bulldogs finally gets the ball into their half.
47 min: Sau down injuring clutching at the rib area.
48 min: Sau leaves the field as light rain is falling.
49 min: TRY
Following a penalty, the Bulldogs launch their first successful attack which Morris finishes off.
Newcastle Knights 16-4
51 min: Cross down injured in back play after accidental contact with Hodgson
51 min: Cross stays on the field to continue.
54 min: TRY
Once again the Knights gather up the loose ball, and try as he might, Idris couldn't mow down a rampaging Taufua who scores from 60 metres out.
Newcastle Knights 20-4
58 min: Battered tired bodies getting a bit of attention and giving both sides a rest.
59 min: Close to the Bulldogs line and Idris loses the ball forward in wet conditions.
62 min: Goal line dropout - Bulldogs. First of the evening for the home side.
64 min: Goal line dropout - Bulldogs. Another set for the Bulldogs to change their fortunes.
65 min: Third goal line dropout - Bulldogs. The Knights defence holding out the Bulldogs at this stage.
67 min: TRY
Finally a small hole appears in the Knights defence as Idris is by-passed and Turner scores out wide. The conversion hits the post.
Newcastle Knights 20-8
69 min: Cramp starting to set in as Vuna winces in back play. A good break by the Knights narrowly denies them another try.
70 min: Nanai also on the sideline with cramp.
72 min: Penalty tap 20 metres out for the Bulldogs, but a mistake early in the tackle count and any attack is stopped dead.
75 min: TRY
A mistake by the Knights close to the Bulldogs line and finally the Bulldogs fight back with Turner over out wide for his 2nd try of the night.
Newcastle Knights 20-12
78 min: TRY
Brilliant work to set up the try for Morris
Newcastle Knights 20-16
80 min: FULLTIME: A couple of exciting minutes to finish off the match as Idris nearly brought up another try however the Knights hold on for the victory