A horror no-call by NRL referee Sean Hampstead and 2 tries to new comer Junior Sau proved crucial as Newcastle beat the Bulldogs 22-12 at ANZ Stadium.
The result kept the Knights in finals contention but delivered a potentially fatal blow to the aspirations of the injury-ravaged Bulldogs.
The match hinged on events in a critical two-minute period in the second half with the Knights clinging on to a four-point lead at the time.
Bulldogs captain and second-rower Andrew Ryan scrambled over the top of Newcastle five-eighth Jarrod Mullen to score what appeared to be a legitimate try in the 54th minute.
However, Hampstead obviously believed Mullen grounded the ball first, as he didn’t even refer the critical incident to video referee Bill Harrigan.
Newcastle capitalised on their good fortune to score a try just two minutes later, when Sau finished off a breakout move to score his second try.
Knights veteran centre Adam McDougall wrapped up the points with a 68th minute try after Chris Bailey pounced on a loose Bulldogs pass near halfway.
Trailing 22-6, the Bulldogs scored a consolation try 12 minutes from full time when full-back Nick Youngquest crossed.
The home team’s massive injury list which already includes star player Sonny Bill Williams, possibly got another addition with Matt Utai limping off with a knee problem near the end.
Sau gave Newcastle a 10-6 half-time lead with his first top-grade try after some slick handling set up the youngster.