Match: Bulldogs v Knights
Round 11 -
Venue: North Sydney Oval
The Bulldogs have bounced back from their heart-breaking loss to the Dragons in Round 10 to claim a 22-12 victory over a spirited Newcastle Knights outfit at North Sydney Oval on Sunday afternoon.
After the Bulldogs took an early 10-nil lead in the first-half with two unanswered tries to Jack Nelson and Lachlan Lewis, the Knights hit-back with an impressive try to Brent Naden as they were looking to build on their impressive win over the Workers last weekend.
Although Naden grabbed his second try of the game to well and truly put the Knights back into the contest early in the second-half, the Bulldogs showed their class in the crucial stages to eventually run away with two competition points.
A try to Nelson in the opening five minutes of the game got the Bulldogs off to the perfect start with Fa'amanu Brown nailing the conversion to take an early 6-0 lead.
As both sides endured a hard-fought opening 15-minutes with neither side able to find a breakthrough, the Bulldogs eventually extended their lead when Lachlan Lewis crossed in the right-hand corner.
Although dominating the first-half and having further chances to snatch their third unanswered try, the Knights responded with a brilliant four-pointer of their own as Peter Mata'utia broke through the line before kicking for his winger Brent Naden, who pounced on the loose ball to get his side straight back into the contest.
The ensuing period of play saw both sides battling fiercely for a vital try just before the break, but it was Josh Cleeland who stamped his authority on the match as he crashed his way over to take an eight-point advantage in the moments before half-time.
The Knights came out with a point to prove in the opening exchanges of the second-half with a resilient defensive effort holding out some threatening Bulldogs raids, and they reaped the rewards at the opposing end with Naden scoring his second try after some slick hands gave the winger some open space.
Johns nailed the sideline conversion to trail by just two-points after 50 minutes.
The Bulldogs looked to have responded with a quick-fire try of their own after Cleeland played off the back of a Morgan Harper break, but the scrambling Knights defence was able to force a knock-on over the try-line.
Zac Woolford was providing significant spark from the bench as he looked to inspire his team with just under 10 minutes and a deft kick in-goal saw the dynamic hooker plant the ball down just before the dead-ball line for the crucial match-sealing try.
A late penalty goal from Brown in the dying stages was the icing on the cake for the Bulldogs as they claimed their fourth victory in five games.