Bulldogs upset injury-hit Knights in NRL

Canterbury have staged one of the upsets of the NRL season, holding off a late comeback from an injury-hit Newcastle to prevail 18-12 in the wet.

Knights duo Andrew McCullough (hamstring) and Connor Watson (achilles) were chaired from the field on Sunday afternoon after suffering possible season-ending injuries.

Newcastle struggled to overcome the loss of both players, while also committing too many errors in the driving rain at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The last-placed Bulldogs had no such issues with the heavy conditions, completing at more than 90 per cent to claim just their second win of the season.

The victory comes just days after the appointment of incoming coach Trent Barrett, who will take plenty of positives out of their no-frills performance.

Veteran front-rower Aiden Tolman was among Canterbury’s best, carting the ball up for a team-high 181 metres and also adding a crucial first-half try.

Hooker Jeremy Marshall-King tallied a game-high 50 tackles, and set up a try for Raymond Faitala-Mariner in the second half.

Canterbury took advantage of a Newcastle side who struggled to hold possession, surging out to a three-try lead after Jake Averillo’s scored in the 49th minute.

The Knights finally found some footing when Hymel Hunt made the most of a Tautau Moga offload to reduce the deficit to 12 points.

The 3521 souls who braved the conditions were treated to a thrilling finish when Sione Mata’utia slid over with 10 minutes left in the contest.

But the Bulldogs held off a series of attacking waves on their own tryline in the final 20 minutes to earn their first win since round four.

Canterbury opened the scoring through an unlikely source, with Lachlan Lewis sending Tolman over in the 13th minute.

The Knights lost McCullough and Watson in the space of six minutes, which might prove fatal to their premiership ambitions.

The Bulldogs threatened to run away with the game when Faitala-Mariner and Averillo scored in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

And while Newcastle made a late push with two tries in eight minutes, the visitors did enough to hold on for a gritty victory.

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