Mystery hangs around Bulldog Tevita Pangai Jr. after a long spell on the bench during a 16-6 loss to Newcastle in Canterbury in the opening match of the Magic Round.
Pangai made a significant drop for most of the second half, and only returned to the field late in the match when Knights’ halfback Adam Clooney was questioned for his effort to walk for an easy effort.
After getting the ball to the right end, Clooney looked like he was running to a dead end, but he changed direction and targeted a lazy Pangai who was unable to close a hole in the defensive line.
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Fox League commentator Corey Parker condemned Pangai’s position, saying he “missed his assignment”.
Early in the second half, as Pangai cooled his heels on the sidelines, Fox League reporter Jake Duke asked why Star Prop was not re-entered into action.
“I asked questions about Tevita Pangai Jr., they told me there was nothing wrong with her – no injuries, no illness – so she was not there for a strategic reason,” he said.
Confusion surrounding Pangai has grown as scoring has become more urgent for the Bulldogs.
NRL Highlights: Bulldogs vs. Knights – Round 10
“Well Pangai Jr. is still sitting on the bench. You need the big stars to have 13 minutes left,” Parker said.
At that moment the Knights should have already wrapped up the victory, bombing several golden opportunities to add to their leadership.
After seven defeats in a row, Newcastle hit the back of the net from the front of the Sticks early in the first half with a penalty kick by Kalin Pongar.
The penalty goal was a gift after Paul Vaughan got a little excited and threw the prop to Leo Thompson.
Although the incident did not cause injury, the heart was on the side for the moment after the match when Corey Waddle was assisted off the field after being knocked out in a bad collision.
Waddell police nasty knock
The game was stopped for the moment for his treatment.
Waddell put his head in the wrong position when he went to make a tackle and he bounced back after contacting the ball-carrier’s buttocks.
He later got back on his feet and walked off the ground with the instructors.
After the game, Knights prop David Klemer described his team’s recent efforts as “embarrassing” but backed to return to form after returning to the winning circle.
Calling it an ugly victory, Clemer replied: “Bloody oath”, but said the Knights needed such a victory.
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