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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald

Knights discard Jacob Kiraz scores a hat-trick for Canterbury in 24-10 win against his old club

TRY TIME: Canterbury players congratulate Jacob Kiraz after scoring the first of his tries against Newcastle on Sunday. Picture: Getty Images

KNIGHTS discard Jacob Kiraz scored a hat-trick as Canterbury added to Newcastle's tale of woe with a 24-10 victory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

Kiraz, who played NSW Cup for the Knights last year and was training with their NRL squad before being released to join the Bulldogs in the pre-season, flashed over for two tries in the first half and another after the break.

The loss left the Newcastle 14th on the ladder, two points ahead of West Tigers, who they play next Sunday at Campbelltown.

It was another disappointing day for the majority of the 19,813-strong crowd. The Knights have now lost eight of their 10 home games this season.

With five games remaining, and skipper Kalyn Ponga sidelined indefinitely after a spate of concussions, the Knights remain in danger of collecting their first wooden spoon since 2017.

It was Canterbury's fourth win in the past six games under interim coach Mick Potter, who has steered them from last on the ladder to 12th since replacing Trent Barrett.

Kiraz opened the scoring in the seventh minute when the Bulldogs created an overlap and gave him a metre of space down the right-hand sideline.

He was in again three minutes later when the Bulldogs kept the ball alive and Josh Addo-Carr, on the opposite flank, kicked the ball across-field and Kiraz leapt high to catch it and score.

Newcastle hit back in the 29th minute when Enari Tuala, switched to the left wing instead of his usual centre role, scored in the corner to reduce the deficit to 10-4.

But Canterbury were quickly back into their groove and scored again when five-eighth Matt Burton chipped ahead for Addo-Carr, who passed back inside for centre Aaron Schoupp to race over.

A penalty goal after the half-time siren, when Phoenix Crossland was pinged for a lifting tackle, gave the visitors an 18-4 lead.

Kiraz dived over for a spectacular one-handed put-down four minutes after the break to complete his hat-trick.

The Knights fielded a reshuffled squad, recalling halfback Jake Clifford at the expense of Adam Clune and reinstating winger Dom Young, who missed the previous game game with a rib injury.

Leading tryscorer Edrick Lee was also a late omission, prompting Tuala's move to the wing and Simi Sasagi to start in the centres.

A Young try was the only second-half highlight for the home team.

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