Kalyn Ponga captured in telling act as Andrew Johns savages Knights over NRL 'shame'

The Newcastle legend was fuming in commentary as his side went down to the Bulldogs in embarrassing scenes.

Andrew Johns was left fuming in commentary and Kalyn Ponga's reaction said it all as the Newcastle Knights produced a woeful display in their NRL loss to the Bulldogs on Friday night. The Bulldogs had two players sin-binned and lost Josh Addo-Carr to injury, but still managed to wallop the hapless Knights 32-2.

Canterbury's defence was outstanding and it was epitomised by a desperate try-saving tackle from Jacob Preston on Greg Marzhew when he looked certain to score in the corner. But the Dogs were helped by some awful play from the Knights, who looked devoid of answers in attack and like they were still enjoying the bye week.

Kalyn Ponga and Andrew Johns during the Knights and Bulldogs clash.
Kalyn Ponga and Andrew Johns both couldn't believe what they were seeing from the Newcastle Knights. Image: Channel 9/Getty

The home side made a plethora of errors and produced some limp defensive efforts, leaving club legend Johns fuming for the loyal fans who turned up to watch the match in atrocious conditions. "Look at the weather, look at the people who have turned out, sitting in the rain, and they're tossing this up?" Johns said in commentary for Channel 9.

"Hang your heads in shame. You can sit at home and watch it on TV live and free, and they turn up, and this is what they toss up to their fans? The Bulldogs - two players in the sin-bin and they have not scored a try, the Knights. They have not looked like scoring."

Dylan Lucas and Jack Cogger, pictured here after Newcastle's loss to the Bulldogs.
Dylan Lucas and Jack Cogger look on after Newcastle's loss to the Bulldogs.

Injured superstar Ponga was watching on from the coach's box and could be seen covering his eyes with his beanie after a Knights mistake. The gun fullback realised his reaction was being filmed for the TV audience and quickly switched his focus back to the task at hand looking rather sheepish.

Knights coach Adam O'Brien said he felt his players had lost some mental sharpness after a bye the previous week and become distracted by the praise coming their way after four-consecutive wins. "The thing for now is we've got to make sure that we go down (to Melbourne Storm) with a really good mindset, that we can play well, and we need to prepare and train that way," he said.

"We probably need to batten the hatches down and get off social media and don't read too much what you guys are gonna write. Maybe we were reading too much of that leading up to this one about how good we were going. So now we'll look inwards and try to fix it."


Young fullback David Armstrong, who has been playing the lights out while deputising for Ponga, was particularly subdued on Thursday night. When asked whether contract talks might have gotten to his head, O'Brien conceded it was a possibility.

"He's only a young bloke," he said. "He's played four games and been getting plenty of pats on the back and it's all new to him. There's speculation about contracts and management and all that. He's young, he'll learn from it."

Jacob Preston during the Bulldogs' win over the Knights.
Jacob Preston celebrates a try during the Bulldogs' win over the Knights.

Addo-Carr scored a first-half double and looked like a player unhappy about being overlooked for State of Origin selection. But he suffered another hamstring injury just after half-time.

"He's moving OK. Hopefully it's nothing too serious," Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo said. "But obviously it wasn't a good sign that he couldn't finish the game."

Ciraldo was full of praise for his side's dogged defence, saying: "We've got good people who want to work hard and they love each other. Whenever you've got that, you're going to be hard to break down. I just love watching them defend at the moment."

with AAP