The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have been beaten by the Newcastle Knights, 22-10 at Magic Round in Brisbane.
The Knights led 16-0 at the break and held off a late-surging Canterbury side to record a 22-10 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
Newcastle scored first in the seventh minute after a scrum 10 metres out from the Bulldogs line saw Kalyn Ponga skip across the Dogs defence on play one and throw a short ball to centre Hymel Hunt to grab the first try of the match. Ponga converted and Newcastle led 6-0.
The Bulldogs had all the momentum following the first points of the game with back to back penalties putting the home side in good field position.
Canterbury were building pressure off the back of two repeat sets thanks to Kieran Foran’s boot, but the Knights defence stood tall when Jayden Okunbor look set to score, only to be forced over the touchline by the scrambling Newcastle defence.
The Knights forced their way back into good field position and in the 22nd minute, they had their second try of the afternoon.
Mitchell claimed his third try of the season when his fifth tackle kick rebounded off a Canterbury player and the bounce allowed the half back to beat Nick Meaney to the ball. Ponga added a further two points to give the visitors a 12-point lead.
Newcastle were on the attack again when back to back kicks from Pearce forced two goal line dropouts, but the Dogs goal line defence was brilliant and forced an error out of the visitors.
Moments later, Newcastle had their third try for the half when Lachlan Fitzgibbon scored just before the break to send the Knights into the sheds leading 16-0.
Canterbury were first to score in the second half when Reimis Smith plucked out a cut-out pass from Pearce to run 95 metres and score his seventh try of the season.
It triggered a change of ascendancy, with the Bulldogs going on the attack as they looked to chase down a 12-point buffer.
Repeated sets helped the Bulldogs build pressure, allowing skipper Josh Jackson to show off his skill with a classy catch-and-pass to put Will Hopoate over in the corner.
Nick Meaney converted from the sideline to make it a six-point game with a quarter of the match remaining.
The Knights sealed the 12-point victory when Kayln Ponga split the Bulldogs defence to score and give Newcastle their third straight victory.