Addo-Carr injury dampens Bulldogs’ big win over Knights

Jacob Shteyman |

Josh Addo-Carr (C) has scored two tries and been injured in Canterbury’s win in Newcastle.
Josh Addo-Carr (C) has scored two tries and been injured in Canterbury’s win in Newcastle.

Another hamstring injury to Josh Addo-Carr has soured a dominant 32-2 Canterbury win over Newcastle at a wet and windy McDonald Jones Stadium.

The flying ‘Fox’ played like he had a point to prove on Friday night after he was snubbed by NSW coach Michael Maguire for the State of Origin opener.

Addo-Carr’s first-half double set the Bulldogs on track for their second straight win and looked like putting his name back in the frame for Blues selection until his unfortunate withdrawal soon after halftime.

“He’s moving OK. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious,” Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo said after fulltime. 

“But obviously it wasn’t a good sign that he couldn’t finish the game.”

An affectionate Ciraldo was full of praise for his side’s dogged defence after the Knights dominated field position in the first half.

“We’ve got good people who want to work hard and they love each other,” he said. 

“Whenever you’ve got that, you’re going to be hard to break down. I just love watching them defend at the moment.”

Ciraldo’s men kept an opponent tryless for the first time since their 32-0 thumping of Gold Coast in round three as they leapfrogged their hosts into eighth spot.

The Dogs twice had men sent to the sin bin and on both occasions defied the numerical disadvantage to score tries of their own.

It was Addo-Carr who opened the scoring while fullback Connor Tracey was resting his heels in the sin bin for running his opposite number David Armstrong off the ball.

Finding himself in open space on the wing, Addo-Carr created something out of nothing to pounce on a fumble from Armstrong off a chip and chase.

The in-demand rookie had a tough night at the back, struggling to handle the ball in the slippery conditions.

Canterbury’s diehard defence was epitomised by a desperate try-saving tackle from back-rower Jacob Preston on Greg Marzhew when he looked certain to score in the corner.

But their defence was helped by a limp Newcastle attack who looked like they were still enjoying their bye week.

“We lacked a bit of creativity on the ball. That looked like a team that had had a week off and it was hard to generate some momentum,” Knights coach Adam O’Brien said.

“I thought they defended their try-line in particular, but all parts of the field very, very well. Ciro’s done a great job with them defensively and we couldn’t win the ground at all.”

After Addo-Carr limped off, the Bulldogs lifted a gear, pouring another four tries onto Newcastle in the second half despite halfback Toby Sexton spending 10 minutes in the bin.

Preston scored a double and Josh Curran got one of his own, getting on the end of a ricocheted kick that held up just before the dead ball line.

The loss puts an end to the Knights’ four-match win streak and was compounded by a knee injury to Daniel Saifiti. 

To add insult to injury, brother Jacob Saifiti was sin-binned and placed on report for an innocuous headbutt on Canterbury hooker Reed Mahoney in the final minute.

Mahoney set up two tries in the second half and was once again the Knights’ biggest problem, having got under the skin of Jack Hetherington the last time the two sides met.