Rugby League

Bulldogs pile on points as Knights lose Ponga

April 21, 2024 5:04 pm

[Source: NRL]

The Bulldogs have made a big statement for the season with a dominant 36-12 win over the Knights who lost skipper Kalyn Ponga to a foot injury late in the match.

Already hobbling around with a hip pointer injury, Ponga added to his list of concerns after being placed in a moon boot early in the second half of his side’s loss at Accor Stadium.

Despite losing their star fullback, the Knights were already struggling to match it with Cameron Ciraldo’s men, who well and truly hit top gear in their six-try romp on Sunday.

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Fresh off the field after replacing an injured Chris Patolo, Sam Hughes opened the scoring for the Bulldogs, muscling his way over from close range thanks to an earlier run from Bronson Xerri.

Ten minutes later the Bulldogs looked to be in again when Jaeman Salmon pounced on a Josh Curran grubber but the try was called back after replays show Bradman Best forced a knock on in a try-saving tackle.

The Bulldogs added a second try in the 22nd minute when Drew Hutchison took the ball right and Connor Tracey sent Jacob Kiraz over in the corner. Burton converted from the sideline for a 12-0 lead.

The Knights wrestled back some momentum and opened up their account mine minutes later when forward Dylan Lucas charged towards the line and spun his way out of a would-be Connor Tracey tackle to reduce the deficit 18-6.

Winger Greg Marzhew was next to come up with an error which put the Bulldogs back in dangerous field position and the home side capitalised with Xerri powering over for his first NRL try since 2019.

The Bulldogs started the second half like they did the first when rookie forward Bailey Hayward made Ponga pay for waiting for the ball to run dead, diving around the fullback and planting the ball down for a handy 24-6 lead.

The Knights afternoon went from bad to worse when Ponga left the field with a foot injury which forced Tyson Gamble to fill in at fullback and Phoenix Crossland to five-eighth.

Star winger Josh Addo-Carr added his name to the score sheet in the 59th minute, finishing off a slick left side raid with an aerial finish in the corner.

Ahead 30-6 the bulldogs continued on their run and skipper Stephen Crichton capped an impressive home win with a superb long-range effort to put the game well and truly to bed 36-6.

Emotions spilled over late in the match and Jack Hetherington and Reed Mahoney were sent to the sin bin with less than four minutes on the clock before Best crashed over for a consolation try in the shadows of full-time.