Canterbury Bulldogs 16
Tries: Tim Lafai, Sam Kasiano, Trent Hodkinson
Goals: Trent Hodkinson 2
Field Goals: nil
Penrith Panthers 22
Tries: James Segeyaro 2, Josh Mansour, Matt Moylan
Goals: Matt Moylan 2
Field Goals: nil
Penrith Panthers have ended a two game losing streak with a 22-16 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs at Stadium Australia on Friday night.
On a night that was marred by a debatable no try to Tim Lafai at the twenty-seventh minute, Des Hasler took to the post match interview to launch an attack at the poor execution of his side that saw them trail 22-0 with seventeen minutes remaining. This was evident early when Sam Kasiano’s offload went loose with one of their first attacking plays on the Panthers line.
Penrith’s first chance came off the back of a penalty where a scuffle broke out after Michael Ennis dragged down Jamie Soward who was looking to take the quick tap. Returning winger David Simmons was held up over the line moments later. In the same set James Segeyaro crossed for the opening try from dummy half with the video referee confirming that the number nine grounded the ball.
Canterbury continued to have the best of the chances even though Penrith were getting a good roll on with quick play the balls, and looked more structured in attack. Josh Jackson was in the clear from a forward Josh Reynolds pass after sixteen minutes. Six minutes later Chase Stanley was put in the clear but was denied by the video officials as Matt Moylan came across in a cover tackle to put him into touch. Stanley in trying to ground the ball left the field with an injured right shoulder which potentially could be season ending.
Stanley’s injury was then followed by Elijah Taylor’s knee injury not too long after. Taylor was attempting to pick up a low pass near his own line when he went down with a season ending injury. Canterbury had a second try denied to Corey Thompson as the video officials decided that Jamal Idris was obstructed by Reni Maitua in the lead-up.
Canterbury were denied for a third time in a ten minute period when Tim Lafai was ruled to have lost control as he tried to ground to ball over the line. This decision left Bulldogs fans irate with the inconsistency of the grounding rule in the National Rugby League competition.
In an extended first half that exceeded an hour and with the high drama of three disallowed tries to the Bulldogs, Penrith held onto a six point lead heading into the half time break.
The early part of the second half was dominated by Penrith. They controlled possession for the first fourteen minutes of the half and that was enough to make them skip away to a sixteen point lead.
Six minutes into the second half Segeyaro scored his second for the evening after Soward’s kick was knocked forward by Kasiano. Segeyaro swooped on the ball and strolled over the line to score. The Panthers went close again four minute later when Soward made a break on the last tackle and found Jeremy Latimore who kicked forward and Segeyaro regaining, only for Soward’s final pass to be knocked down by the Bulldogs. It wouldn’t be long before Penrith were rewarded. Segeyaro got the ball to Soward, onto Idris who found an unmarked Josh Mansour to score out wide.
It was a horrible first twenty minutes after half time for the Bulldogs who couldn’t find a way out of their own half. Just when Corey Thompson looked to have done some great work to get out of his own in goal, James Graham spilled the pill a few tackles later. Bryce Cartwright ran clear with possession only to be tackled by Greg Eastwood. Cartwright became another casualty on the Panthers injured list as he left the field with an ankle injury following the tackle.
When Segeyaro and Soward combined to put a steaming Matt Moylan over for the Panthers fourth try of the night, it appeared Penrith were cruising towards a big victory with seventeen minutes to play and twenty-two points ahead.
To the Bulldogs credit they came back well in the last fifteen minutes and dominated possession in the same way Penrith did in the opening part of the second half. This came off the back of some positive play by Moses Mbye who kicked long and into touch from a twenty-metre optional restart. His efforts let to Lafai scoring out wide with quick hands by Reynolds catching Simmons off his line.
With four minutes to go Tony Williams offloaded to Kasiano as the Bulldogs got within twelve points. On full time Trent Hodkinson started and finished a play that featured Kasiano, Williams and Lafai. It was too little too late for the Bulldogs as they slumped to a third consecutive defeat.
James Segeyaro was outstanding for the Penrith side in scoring a double and good in defense. Mansour’s return was excellent as he took on the defense and was rewarded with a try. Will Smith on debut was solid despite some intimidation from the Bulldogs early on in the game. Penrith now move to twenty-eight points and much closer to confirming a place in the finals.
Canterbury were best served by Tim Lafai and Michael Ennis. They would be disappointed that Josh Reynold’s didn’t have a good impact on the game after returning from suspension. The Bulldogs will need to be more disciplined in attack with a tricky last five games that includes Brisbane, Parramatta and South Sydney as they fight to stay in contention to play finals footy.