The Newcastle Knights have this afternoon proved too strong for the Bulldogs winning 44-8 at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle.


There were no changes to the side named earlier in the week with Des Hasler just bringing in Krisnan Inu to the side to the one that defeated the Warriors in Wellington last week.


The opening try of the match was scored by Knights back rower Robbie Rochow in just the sixth minute of play. After back to back penalties the home side had possession deep in the Bulldogs half and they managed to turn their first opportunity into points. It was a left to right movement from the Knights with captain Kurt Gidley drawing in the defence and handing it off to Rochow who went over to score. Gidley converted the try to give the Knights a 6-nil lead.


The Knights Joey Leilua was placed on report in the 11th minute for a tackle on Ben Barba.


Off the back off a Sam Perrett drop from a cross-kick the Knights were gifted another set of six inside the Bulldogs 10. With the Bulldogs defence playing up and in it was five-eighth Jarrod Mullen who spotted an unmarked Kevin Naiqama on the wing and he put in a smart cross-kick to winger who caught the ball and went over untouched in the south-west corner. Gidley smartly converted from the sideline to extend the home side's lead out to 12-nil after 20 minutes.


The Bulldogs were able to answer back with a try of their own in the 36th minute through Kiwi international Frank Pritchard. Off the back of a loose carry from Adam Cuthbertson the Bulldogs started their set from 40m out. It was James Graham playing ball player with the Englishman taking the ball to the line and tipping it on to a flying Pritchard who crashed over for his first try of the year. Hoskinson converted to close the gap to 12-6.


On the stroke of half-time halfback Hodkinson was taken out after putting up a kick and the Bulldogs received a penalty directly in front from 10m out. With little to gain Hodkinson elected to take the shot at goal and closed the gap once more with the Knights going to the break leading 12-8.


Four penalties against the Bulldogs gifted the home side quality field position to start the second half and the extra possession was something the Bulldogs couldn't hold out. It was Darius Boyd who put the grubber through to an unmarked James McManus who went over in the north-west corner. Tyrone Roberts took over the kicking duties with Gidley off the field and converted to extend the lead out to 18-8 after 44 minutes of play.


Just seven minutes later a Sam Kasiano error on the Bulldogs 40m line gave the Knights good field position and they turned it into points once again. It was halfback Tyrone Roberts who threw the dummy and split the Bulldogs defence going through before drawing in Barba and giving it inside to Boyd who went over to score. Roberts converted to extend the lead out to 24 - 8.


A penalty against Ennis resulted in Gidley electing to take the shot at goal and extend the Knights lead. He did that successfully with the score now 26 - 8.


After Perrett was held up at one end the Knights then went 80m to score their fifth try of the afternoon through Joey Leilua. It was Dane Gagai who made the original bust and then offloads, one each from Willie Mason and Adam Cuthbertson set it up for the home side. It ended with Leilua receiving the ball in open space and going over to score his first try of the year. Gidley converted to give the Knights a 32-8 lead with 14 minutes left on the clock.


With nine minutes left the Knights crossed for their sixth try going to their captain Gidley. It was a Mullen grubber that was collected by Dane Gagai and as he met the defence he managed to get the ball off to Gidley who went over under the posts. Gidley converted his own try with the score now 38-8.


With just minutes remaining the Knights ran in for their seventh try with Naiqama registering a double. Gidley converted and it left the Bulldogs with their heads in their hands and looking to next week's match against the Broncos.


KNIGHTS 38 (Rochow, Naiqama 2, McManus, Boyd, Leilua, Gidley; Tries; Gidley 6, Roberts 2 Goals)


Leading


BULLDOGS 8 (Pritchard Try; Hodkinson 2 Goals)


At: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle


Crowd: TBC