The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs host the Newcastle Knights in Round 18 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW. Image: NRL Photos.

The Newcastle Knights have secured a comprehensive victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs by winning 24-4 in a dominant display for the away side on a sunny afternoon at Belmore Sports Ground.

The opening deadlock would be broken after 11 minutes when a deft grubber would find the Bulldogs in-goal area, with Thomas Cronan beating everyone to the ball and falling on it to give the Knights the first points of the afternoon. Bryce Donovan converted to account for all possible points.

A loose ball within the Bulldogs' 20 metres found the hands of Tyler Randell, who would have thought himself untouchable as he scurried through some flimsy defense up the middle and planted the ball down just left of the uprights to give his side a commanding 12-point lead.

Newcastle would strike a cruel blow only moments before half-time through Tom Starling. A late inclusion for this match, he scooted out of dummy-half and sold the dummy to crash over just to the right of the posts with Donovan making it 3/3 with the boot taking his side to an 18-0 half-time lead.

The second half would start much better for the Bulldogs when Thomas Carr was able to create some space for himself as the link man against a retreating and sliding Newcastle defensive line; a simple dummy was enough to carry a defender over and get the Bulldogs back in the match. The conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 18-4.

It wasn’t long before Newcastle would put a dent in the Bulldogs resurgence as another classy piece of play from Starling found open space with a grubber in behind the ruck and Bradie Smith would get the ball down only just before the dead-ball line. Donovan continued his perfect run with the kicking tee to create a seemingly insurmountable lead with only 20 minutes left on the clock.

Much of the second half was fought in the middle of the park with the forwards coming up with plenty of heavy contact as many of the smaller men unable to get a many opportunities as both sides sought to clean up their defensive lines.

The Bulldogs would continue in vain to try and spark a late revival, but with too little discipline and possession, they were unable to break a resilient Newcastle defensive line that continued to deny the Bulldogs as they had done for majority of the afternoon. With the boys from Newcastle controlling the last 10 minutes of the match perfectly, they find themselves well within the race for the finals and their season’s destiny in their own hands and finishing the game winning 24-4.

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