Newcastle Knights vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Five things we learned

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have escaped with the win against the Newcastle Knights on Saturday night at McDonald Jones Stadium. This is five things we learned.

  1. 1 Injuries take their toll

    After lighting up Origin Two last Sunday night, Kalyn Ponga would have been on a high. Throw in the fact that he was leading the Dally M medal points in his first full season it was all looking up. However, his and the Knights season has been thrown into disarray after injuring his hamstring last night. 

    Once Ponga went off the home teams chances dropped dramatically and it was made worse when their dummy-half, Slade Griffin, was taken off to hospital with the fourth ACL injury in his career.

    Thankfully for the Knights they have the bye next week so they can work on getting new players and combinations ready for their round 18 clash against the Parramatta Eels and will also have Mitchell Pearce ready and raring to go.

  2. 2 Klemmer leads by example

    Another Origin player who was backing up in this clash was the NSW firebrand, David Klemmer. 

    After only playing 36 minutes in the Blue's Origin victory, he would have been pumped to get back to the Bulldogs and create havoc. The forward did not disappoint on Saturday night as he finished the game with 200 running metres and 33 tackles from 74 minutes.

    The Origin teams are named tomorrow and Klemmer sent a timely reminder to Brad Fittler that he is ready to rip into the Maroons in game three on Wednesday week.

  3. 3 Trust the kids

    Any team losing an international half for the season in Kieran Foran and the quality of Aaron Woods and Moses Mbye to other clubs would seem like they would struggle. However, sometimes when a team's back is against the wall, they do their best work. That seemed to be the case for the Bulldogs.

    The departure of Mbye meant that Will Hopoate had to shift to fullback meaning a role at centre was available. Kerrod Holland has been in and out of the side, mostly featuring off the bench as a utility. The changes allowed him the chance to start, and he did not let Dean Pay down as he finished the game with a double.

    The biggest beneficiary of the changes was the nephew of Wally Lewis, Lachlan Lewis. Pay had lost faith in Matt Frawley so threw the young half his debut. He didn't have the impact that his uncle did but he did not look nervous or out of place. Having been a star in the Intrust Super Premiership, it looks like he will continue his partnership with a fellow youngster Jeremy Marshall-King going forward.

  4. 4 Bulldogs find a sharpshooter

    Losing Mbye was tough for several reasons. Not only had he been a revelation after shifting from the halves to fullback this season but he was also the clubs goalkicker. 

    Over the past few seasons Kerrod Holland has been the kicker at stages but last night the duties were shifted to back rower Rhyse Martin. Martin had already shown his quality with the boot in the World Cup with Papua New Guinea and continued that form in their fixture against Fiji in the representative round. 

    If the game was on the line then you would feel comfortable with Martin kicking because he converted all six tries against the Knights, including tough kicks from the sideline. One of the toughest was after the last play of the game as Josh Jackson crossed in the corner. Martin stepped up and as cool as you like slotted the conversion from the far touchline.

    Martin had already been a revelation for Supercoach players, throw in now he is a goalkicker and he may be a genuine keeper in the run home to the finals.

  5. 5 Nable has no idea

    It seems like a weekly occurrence where we are left dumbfounded by the commentary of Fox League commentator, Matt Nable. A former league player who turned to acting after his career ended, he has returned to the game this season in the commentary box. Unfortunately, he hasn't been met with much support from the Rugby League community.

    Calling the wrong players name in a game has happened to even the best commentators but usually, it's from players playing in the same game. Nable went to a whole other level of embarrassing by calling New Zealand International Slade Griffin, Jayden Brailey on multiple occasions. This left people confused thinking the Sharks dummy-half had made a mid-season switch to the Knights. Where he was pulling Brailey from no one will know because they don't look a like and haven't even played at the same club at any stage.

    It is now getting to where people are considering muting the television over listening to him so hopefully, he can either improve quickly or it might be just one season for Nable.

    What did you make of the Bulldogs win against the Knights? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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