Canterbury have condemned Newcastle to a club-record 14th straight NRL loss at Hunter Stadium, outclassing the hapless Knights 28-14 to move back into the top four.
Newcastle lost 13 straight games in 2005, but their 2016 counterparts – winning just once this year and on track for a second-straight wooden spoon – have displaced them in the record books as the worst-performed team in club history.
Bulldogs halfback Moses Mbye scored a try, set up another and kicked six goals from as many attempts on a wet Saturday afternoon to inspire the visitors to their sixth win from their past seven games.
Canterbury (30 points) climb to third, at least temporarily leap-frogging Canberra (29) and North Queensland (28) who are yet to play this weekend. The Raiders take on Cronulla at Shark Park on Saturday night and the Cowboys travel to Leichhardt Oval on Sunday to face the Wests Tigers.
Newcastle led 2-0 in the 12th minute courtesy of a penalty goal by former NSW Origin halfback Trent Hodkinson, playing against his old club for the first time.
The Bulldogs eventually adjusted to the slippery conditions and responded with two tries in four minutes midway through the half to take a 12-2 lead.
Hooker Michael Lichaa scooped up a Mbye pass and stepped past Jarrod Mullen to score in the 21st minute, then Josh Morris took a pass from twin brother Brett to touch down four minutes later. Mbye converted both tries then added a 36th-minute penalty goal for a 14-2 lead at the break.
Newcastle created few genuine scoring chances and made life difficult for themselves with sloppy handling and a lack of discipline in the ruck, conceding five penalties while earning only one.
Hodkinson’s 40-20 kick in the 43rd minute provided a solid platform for the Knights to mount a second-half resurgence.
Mullen took advantage two minutes later, bouncing out of Mbye’s tackle and firing a one-handed pass for winger Brendan Elliot to score in the corner. Hodkinson’s sideline conversion cut the deficit to 14-8 and the crowd of 13,318 found their voice.
Elliot crossed for his second try just three minutes later, regathering Hodkinson’s chip kick to score in the corner and Hodkinson converted from the sideline again to level at 14-14.
The Bulldogs regained momentum in the 54th minute when Sam Kasiano charged down a Mullen clearing kick. Mullen tried to recover the ball but lost it in James Graham’s tackle and Mbye was on the spot to pick up the crumbs and score next to the posts, then converted for a 20-14 lead.
Mbye added a penalty goal in the 73rd minute to stretch the margin to 22-14, then Sam Perrett scored in the corner and Mbye converted.