Newcastle have admitted to blundering the decision over who would take the crucial penalty kick which could have sent their thrilling NRL loss to Canterbury into golden point.
The Knights were shattered after giving up a 10-point lead with five minutes remaining in their 20-18 defeat to an emotion-charged Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
After the Bulldogs snatched the lead with a minute remaining thanks to a Moses Mbye runaway try, the Knights had a chance to save it after the bell when Josh Reynolds was penalised for pushing Chanel Mata’utia off the ball from the restart.
Trent Hodkinson had kicked three from four but decided to hand over the resulting attempt at a penalty conversion to Brock Lamb.
Hodkinson — who has been plagued with chronic knee issues throughout his career — was worried he couldn’t make the distance.
He revealed he had misunderstood how far out the kick was to be taken from, thinking the penalty had been blown 40 metres from the goals posts, a distance he didn’t think he could make.
In fact the mark was 30 metres out, a range he felt he could make comfortably.
Afer Lamb’s shocking kick sailed low and left of the uprights to cap a memorable Bulldogs win, Hodkinson said he was wrong not to pull rank and step back in to take the shot.
“I thought the penalty was on the 40 metre line and obviously Lamby has the bigger boot,” Hodkinson told Triple M.
“He slots them over at training all the time.
“When he lined it up it was on the 30 (metre line) and I didn’t want to take it off him. He was zoned in.
“I probably should have taken it. I’m filthy I didn’t.”
Lamb has kicked at 82 per cent this year and is considered a reliable boot.
However the 20-year-old seemed to suffer a case of the yips under the extreme pressure after coming up with the kick which led to Mbye’s game-winning try just minutes earlier.
“My message was if Hodko thinks he’s got the distance in him then take it, if he doesn’t then go with Lamby,” Knights coach Nathan Brown said.
“Lamby actually strikes the ball really, really well.
“What happened before probably played a part in how he struck the ball. He’s kicking goals at nearly 90 per cent.
“As hard as it is to take, it’s just part of the journey these kids are on. I can see the makings of a really good side.”