The Knights upset the Bulldogs 20-6 at ANZ Stadium in Round 4, severing Canterbury’s three-game winning streak to open 2012.
The Knights raced to a 12-nil lead at halftime and actually led 20-nil with two minutes remaining before a last-ditch try to Joel Romelo averted a whitewash.
Newcastle started brilliantly when Jarrod Mullen sent Kade Snowden through a gap 10 metres out from the Canterbury goal line, the prop passing to fellow bookend Richie Fa’aoso for a 6-nil scoreline with seven minutes on the clock.
They extended their lead 11 minutes later when Mullen brushed through Dene Halatau from close range.
A Kurt Gidley penalty goal seven minutes after halftime gave Newcastle a 14-point buffer before Gidley iced their afternoon with eight minutes to play; the five-eighth took on the line 10 metres out, stood in the tackle and delay-offloaded to Alex McKinnon who crossed on the right edge to register his first try in Newcastle colours.
Romelo’s consolation four-pointer came after Ben Barba grasped the ball at first receiver and found a gaping hole on the left edge.
Poor completions and a high error count cruelled the Bulldogs’ chances – they got through only 24 of 38 sets (63 per cent) and committed 15 mistakes. Conversely the Knights respected the ball (81 per cent completions) and made just seven errors.
Wearing the No.7 jersey Mullen was a standout for the Knights, while Snowden was a wrecking ball up front (162 metres).
Ben Barba tried hard to spark his side, adding a game-high 19 runs and 10 tackle-breaks. Sam Kasiano had a horror afternoon with his hands, dropping the ball on four occasions.