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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.

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. 

Samuel Hughes Try

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.

Bronson Xerri Try

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.

Match Snapshot 

  • Bulldogs forward Chris Patolo lasted just two minutes on the field before being ruled put with a knee injury.
  • Bulldogs halfback Drew Hutchison was placed on report in the 33rd minute for a tripping action on Knights forward Kai Pearce-Paul.
  • Knights lock Adam Elliott made his 150th NRL appearance against his former club.
  • Bulldogs winger Jacob Kiraz ran for 189 metres and made two line breaks to go with his first half try.

Matt Burton boots a 40/20

  • Knights hooker Jayden Brailey was tireless in defence with 43 tackles and zero misses in his 80-minute performance.
  • The Bulldogs conceded six penalties compared to the Knights two.
  • Bulldogs forward Jaeman Salmon was placed on report in the 77th minute for a Dangerous Tackle.
  • The Bulldogs defeated the Knights at Accor Stadium for the first time since 2014.

Play of the Game 

The Bulldogs try just after half time had all of Accor Stadium on their feet when rookie forward Bailey Hayward showed impressive speed and determination to  chase a Reed Mahoney grubber into the in-goal and dive around Kalyn Ponga to plant the ball down. 

Bailey Hayward Try

What They Said

"We're hugely disappointed. We had a great training run and I didn't foresee any of this. Obviously what I could foresee is some missing personal and we weren't familiar with each other on that edge but our training week can't be blamed, I didn't see it coming.

The Bulldogs and Dragons are good examples of teams who didn't have great seasons last year and who are loving footy at the moment. They're loving being in the grind and going after stuff because that level of expectation isn't there. We're not enjoying it at the moment because of our expectation of playing well last year. We need to get back to finding our love of the game and start seeing it as fun which is what other teams are doing at the top of the ladder." - Knights coach Adam O'Brien.

Knights: Round 7

"I just love how with this group if there's any sort of adversity they just embrace it and walk towards it and I'm really proud of them. The first seven rounds, I feel like we've got better every week and I feel like we've been in every game and given ourselves a chance to win. We haven't iced some moments but I'm really proud of the effort. I feel like we're learning along the way and today was a culmination of a big seven weeks for us." - Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo

Bulldogs: Round 7

What's Next 

The Bulldogs enjoy a bye before hosting the Wests Tigers in Round 9 where they will also look to welcome back forwards Jacob Preston and Kurt Mann while the Knights head to Brisbane to meet with the Dolphins at Suncorp on Sunday.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.