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Frawley leads Dogs to NRL win over Knights

NZN 7/04/2017 Steve Zemek

Canterbury coach Des Hasler admits back-up half Matt Frawley is pushing to wear the No.7 permanently after steering the Dogs to a scratchy 22-12 NRL win over Newcastle.

When the chips were down, it was Frawley who, in just his second first grade game, sparked the Dogs to life in front of 16,929 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday.

After the Knights went in to the break with a surprise 6-4 lead, Frawley made his impression felt in the first set of the second half - slicing through for a brilliant 40m solo try which put the visitors in front.

Brought on after just 25 minutes when Brad Abbey went down with injury, he took the game by the scruff of the neck with his effective kicking helping guide the side around the park like an experienced campaigner.

He threw a looping cut-out pass for Josh Morris' 65th minute try to make it 18-6, a play that eventually proved the difference after the Knights stormed back in to the contest in the last 10 minutes.

Abbey's injury caused Hasler to shuffle his backline with Brett Morris going to fullback and Moses Mbye to the centres.

Hasler said Frawley was giving him a selection headache, and pressuring Mbye and Josh Reynolds for a starting spot, however, he stressed his side made the victory hard on themselves.

"We're very happy with the win," Hasler said.

"And I've got to give this Newcastle side a lot of credit, they're gutsy and they hang in there.

"We probably could have managed it a bit better, particularly in the second half, we just put too much pressure on ourselves with some unwanted errors."

The Bulldogs are sweating on the fitness of prop David Klemmer who left the ground in a moon boot after suffering an ankle injury.

The Knights were once again brave in defeat and were twice denied by the video referees in the second half.

Dane Gagai - who was a standout with 194m and two linebreaks - was shown the red light by the bunker in the 54th when Sione Mata'utai was ruled to have pushed a Bulldogs player off the tackle as he grounded the ball.

Gagai scored a bustling try to get his side within six with 11 minutes on the clock and the Knights thought they had evened the scores when Mata'utia won a chase for the ball in the in-goal in the 73rd.

However, the referees found the faintest bobble as he regained the ball and Bulldogs winger Marcelo Montoya scored in the dying stages for a 22-12 scoreline.

Knights coach Nathan Brown refused to bag the referees - saying he didn't have enough money to pay a fine - but declared his side were getting no 50-50 calls.

"There's certainly some areas of the game where we're not getting favourable calls," Brown said.

"That happens when you're an underdog every week.

"The players aren't getting any calls at the moment - we got none last week and we certainly got none today."

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