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2021 NRL Round 12, Panthers 30 Bulldogs 4 – Report

Christopher Rooney reviews the first game of Super Saturday: Penrith vs Canterbury-Bankstown. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Panthers 30

Tries: Charlie Staines (3, 55), Spencer Leniu (38), Paul Momirovski (61), Matt Burton (65), Stephen Crichton (74).

Goals: Nathan Cleary (40, 62, 67).

Bulldogs 4

Tries: Aaron Schoupp (78).

Goals: nil.

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Apisai Koroisau (Panthers)
2 pts – Paul Momirovski (Panthers)
1 pt – Jake Averillo (Bulldogs)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

Was there a betting market for when Jack Hetherington would give away a high tackle? Well if there was and you picked the first five minutes then you would of won one of the easiest bets of the day.

Hetherington gave away not one, but two penalties for hitting high and clearly has not learnt his lesson. Lazy penalties were all the Panthers needed to be able to score the first try of the afternoon, with Charlie Staines scoring in the corner.

Both front rowers for Canterbury weren’t having the best start to the game as Luke Thompson gave away another penalty for the Panthers to continue the pressure on them. James Fisher-Harris looked to score as he crashed over but some great defence by the Bulldogs stopped the try, especially from their returning captain Josh Jackson.

The Bulldogs showed some resilience in defence and were able to stop the Panthers from scoring after Bradley Deitz had to leave the field after picking up a hamstring injury.

Now it was the Panthers’ turn to give away a high tackle and Isaah Yeo was the man to give the Bulldogs an opportunity to build some pressure down their own end.

There was tension between both sides after a short line drop out kick from Nathan Clearly, which didn’t go to plan for the Panthers after one of their players knocked on to give the Bulldogs more ball down their end. The Bulldogs were able to get another line drop out but this time it worked out for the Panthers, with Brian To’o able to get the ball.

The Bulldogs just kept it simple, making their tackles and getting down the end of the field with good kicking. They didn’t chance their hand and were strong in defence. An error from To’o in the Panthers’ end was the perfect opportunity for the Bulldogs to score but a bad kick from Jake Averillo put the pressure back on the Bulldogs and gave the Panthers seven tackles.

Numbers were left and again the Panthers made a crucial error by dropping the ball when they looked very likely to score. Only 25 minutes into the match and only the one try showed that the Bulldogs were very much up for this match and were determined to make the Panthers work today.

The Bulldogs’ completion rate was remarkable to start the first half until a particular scrum play that wasn’t on ended that. That was their first error of the afternoon and yet the Panthers had already five errors with five minutes to go in the half.

One thing the Bulldogs were able to do in the first half was get goal line drop outs and make the Panthers continually defend their line. With only less than a minute to go, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak offloaded the ball to no one and Spencer Leniu grabbed the ball to score his first NRL try.

HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 10 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 0

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2nd Half

A successful Captain’s Challenge by the Panthers was most ideal as no doubt To’o would of been sent to the bin. All it did was fire up the Bulldogs in defence with some good shots and tackles.

Again, the Panthers looked likely to score in the second half with both times Viliame Kikau the man likely to score. However, the first time he was stopped by a great low tackle from the Bulldogs, and the second time he just dropped the ball, which killed the momentum for the Panthers.

An escort penalty was what the Panthers needed to score their first try of the second half with Staines again scoring in the corner. Before the penalty both sides were in this match and both struggled in attack but sometimes a lucky penalty is all you need.

A good kick from Stephen Crichton led to Paul Momirovski scoring his first try of the afternoon, with Matt Burton scoring on the other side to make it even more difficult for the Bulldogs.

The Panthers were now in full control and had complete control for the rest of the game.

The Bulldogs ensured they wouldn’t leave BlueBet Stadium empty-handed, with Aaron Schoupp scoring with two minutes left.

FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 30 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 4

Injuries

Bradley Dietz (Bulldogs) – hamstring

Match Review Committee

Jack Hetherington (Bulldogs) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea $3,050 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $4,050 fine.
Isaah Yeo (Panthers) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea $1,150 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1,500 fine.
Will Hopoate (Bulldogs) – Grade 1 Contrary Conduct – Early Guilty Plea $1,150 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1,500 fine.
Moses Leota (Panthers) – Grade 2 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea 1 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 2 match ban.

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