The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs took on the Newcastle Knights in the second game of our Super Saturday tripleheader.

The Bulldogs entered the game at 16th on the ladder, with a 2-19 record, a guaranteed spoon, and nothing to play for but pride.

Meanwhile, the Knights sat 7th, with a 10-11 record and a chance to go two wins clear of 8th in the fight for finals.

After 10 minutes, the Knights would be the first side to crack the scoreboard. Mitch Pearce grubbered through to the in-goal and the ball almost rolled dead.

Mitch Barnett chased through and batted it back for Jacob Saifiti to open the scoring.

Jake Clifford kicked the conversion to make the lead 6-0.

15 minutes later, the Knights were back on the goal line. Clifford dribbled in a beautiful grubber to the corner for Enari Tuala to receive a perfect bounce and plant it down.

Clifford hooked the goal shot as the lead remained 10-0.

Not long following this, Corey Allan appeared to have pounced on a grubber to hit back for the Doggies.

However, a second look from the bunker revealed a knock-on from Allan as the score remained 10-0.

With 2 minutes left in the half, the Bulldogs were penalised 3o metres out from their own line.

The Knights opted to kick the penalty goal. However, Clifford hooked the goal and failed to add the 2 points going into the halftime break.

5 minutes into the second stanza, the Bulldogs finally put some points on the board.

On the last, Lachlan Lewis chipped a kick back inside into the in-goal for Nick Meaney to chase through and ground it.

Kyle Flanagan kicked the easy goal to lower the deficit to 10-6.

Nearing the hour mark, on the goal line, Clifford dummied and beat multiple defenders to dive over the stripe and score. He converted to make the lead 16-6.

On the ensuing set, the Knights would go back-to-back. Connor Watson busted a tackle before offloading to send Clifford away.

Clifford drew in Meaney before giving it outside to Bradman Best who raced away to score.

Clifford added another 2 points to make the lead 22-6.

With 10 minutes left, the Bulldogs would hit back and set up a possible comeback.

On the goal line, Bailey Biondi-Odo gave a crash ball to the sweeping Ryan James who powered over the line.

Flanagan slotted the conversion to lower the deficit to 22-12.

In the final minute of the game, the Bulldogs gave themselves the slimmest of chances to win it. Lewis booted a kick across the field into the in-goal area.

Jayden Okunbor somehow came up with it and got it down millimetres inside the dead ball line to score.

Flanagan hooked the goal as the deficit remained 22-16. However, they could not complete the miracle as this was the final score.

The Newcastle Knights escaped with a win despite a late surge by a gallant Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs.

Next week, the Bulldogs will attempt to end a 9-game losing streak as they play the premiership contending Sea Eagles at Redcliffe on Sunday arvo.

Meanwhile, the Knights will look to win their fifth game in a row as they host the Titans on Thursday night at the Sunny Coast.

Although some had their doubts about Clifford’s move to the Knights, the man himself is loving and is eyeing off a finals berth.

“I am loving it. It was a tough decision but for me and my career moving to Newcastle has been a great move so far,” Clifford said.

“I am eying off a finals spot and I am really excited for the next couple of weeks.”

Knights captain Jayden Brailey noted that although their polish in attack is lacking, their defensive resolve has been impressive.

“We were struggling at times, we had a lot in good field position, we just couldn’t nail the finishes on the end of it, but we backed our defence and found a way to win,” Brailey said.

“I think defensively we have really shown up over the last month and that is really important when you get to the finals.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Ja

Newcastle Knights utility Connor Watson

Clifford (NEW)

2. Connor Watson (NEW)

1. Bailey Biondi-Odo (CBY)


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