A well composed performance from the Penrith Panthers has secured their eighth victory in their past ten games thanks to a solid 16-8 victory over a Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs team who fought hard to the death at Pepper Stadium on Thursday night.
Close First Half
There was certainly a lot to play for in this match. Penrith needed the two points in order to make their run uphill towards the finals easier. Canterbury had aspirations to finish the season strongly which would give them much needed confidence heading into next year. However the two teams couldn’t be split in the first half as the first draw of the 2017 season was definitely on the cards.
Penrith would break the deadlock with a penalty goal from Nathan Cleary right in front of the uprights and after four minutes Penrith led 2-nil.
Ten minutes later the Bulldogs had an opportunity to level the scores 30 metres out from the Panthers try line. The Belmore boys set their sights on getting their first points of the game with a four pointer, but an old fashion Sheppard by Josh Reynolds proved to be costly, as Penrith worked it out of their territory.
Fullback Dylan Edwards played a pivotal role in his side’s first try for the game. With a nice passing game and a grubber kick which deflected of a Bulldogs hand in the in goal area allowed for Peter Wallace to ground the ball with ease. Nathan Cleary added the extra two points and the Panthers led 8-nil.
Bulldogs Fight Back
Canterbury were rewarded for their patience and determination in defence as Josh Reynolds received a pitch perfect ball from dummy half Moses Mybe and scored an eloquent individual try. Kerrod Holland had an easy conversion as the Bulldogs trailed by 2.
With just five minutes to go before half-time the away side couldn’t gain the lead for the first time in the match. After numerous penalties in a row, Canterbury decided to gamble and smartly opted to take the two points. Kerrod Holland landed the penalty goal and at half-time the scores were locked at 8-all.
Two Man Bench Bulldogs
Both teams couldn’t produce any points in the first 20 minutes of the second period as both Canterbury and Penrith were definitely up for the challenge in defence. The Bulldogs found it just that little more difficult to defend, especially when they forced to play the last quarter of the game with a two man bench. Sam Kasiano and Adam Elliott both suffered injuries as handling errors and fatigue started to disrupt the rhythm and momentum of the Bulldogs.
Panthers Seal the Deal
The men from the foot of the mountains would take control through applying pressure on the Bulldogs defence. A nice interchanging of passing and a freakish flick pass from Waqa Blake helped Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to get his side the lead again. Nathan Cleary missed his sideline conversion as the Panthers led 12-8.
The Panthers put the icing on the cake with one final try to Tyrone Peachey who placed a nicely waited grubber kick towards the Bulldogs in goal area. Will Hopoate produced a mistake as Peachey pounced onto the ball as the Panthers reassured why they should be playing finals football in 2017 and clinched a 16-8 victory.
Penrith Panthers 16
Tries: Peter Wallace, Tyrone Peachey, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Goals: Nathan Cleary 2
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 8
Try: Josh Reynolds
Goals: Kerrod Holland 2