Knights v Bulldogs: Five Key Points
Sam Kasiano was the hero for the Bulldogs in their 28-14 win over Newcastle. While the Knights were well in the contest for much of the game their 14-point defeat handed the club a record that only a handful of clubs can lay claim to.
Kasiano clutch play steals the show
The Knights were coming home strong with the scores locked up at 14-all in the second half. Things looked good for the home team with Brendan Elliot running in two quickfire tries. A regulation Jarrod Mullen kick from his own half looked to turn the Bulldogs around once again, until big Sam Kasiano had his say. Kasiano's inspirational charge down looked to be regathered by the Knights five-eighth but was dropped instead, leaving Moses Mbye to pick up the scraps and score the match-turning try.
"They're big plays and it doesn't require any talent to come up with a big play," Bulldogs coach Des Hasler said post-game. "It's all about desire and hunger."
The upside for the Bulldogs
Hasler was critical of his side following last week's 13-10 win over the Dragons. Whether it was a ploy to keep any hype surrounding his side to a bare minimum or the truth, we'll never know. In a nice change of pace however, the Bulldogs' coach said he was happy to come away from the Newcastle trip with a win.
"It's always nice to walk away from here with two points," he said.
"They're always a tough ask here. The conditions probably made it difficult but I was pretty pleased with how we controlled the first half.
"Earlier in the second half with their 40/20 it just showed how big a factor momentum is because they levelled it back up at 14-all.
"We managed to turn the game around and went on with the game comfortably. There were a few flat spots we need to address but that comes with possession."
THERE will be no love lost when they Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs clash with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium.
Knights fall to unwanted record
Nathan Brown's inexperienced Knights side have now locked in the worst season in the club's history following their 14th straight loss.
There have been a handful of strong performances throughout that losing run, but now the question is: when will it end?
"I can't honestly answer that to be honest with you," Brown admitted.
"If you look at how hard the boys competed, that's a good start for us. The challenge is keeping up the good commitment and keeping players on the field.
"We had a front-rower (Jacob Saifiti) playing in the centres again (after an injury to winger Nathan Ross) which doesn't help our cause at the minute. But if we do what I said in terms of commitment and effort, I'm sure we can pick up a win or two coming home."
Hodkinson eases own pressure
His team may be struggling but former Bulldog Trent Hodkinson was a standout for Newcastle against his old club on Saturday.
Hodkinson kicked a crucial 40/20 three minutes into the second half and was an inspiration when it came to converting crucial goals in the Newcastle wet.
"I'm not surprised at all. We expect that from Trent. He's a class player," Bulldogs halfback Moses Mbye told NRL.com when asked about Hodkinson's performance.
"He was kicking goals when they counted and when he was under pressure. He came up with a 40/20 which was a massive play at that time of the game and so important for them at that point. He had them the momentum for a while there."
Morris twins' mixed bag
When the Morris twins combine it's like watching poetry in motion. It's exactly what happened when Josh Morris scored in the 25th minute. A wicked Will Hopoate ball out to Brett – while well-read by the Knights defenders – allowed the veteran winger to offload for his brother to score.
It wasn't all good news for the Morris brothers though, with Elliot's two second-half tries for Newcastle being scored down the twins' side.