A replenished Panthers side easily dismantled the struggling Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.
Penrith Panthers 44
Tries: (8) Tyrone Peachey 3rd, 19th; Brian To’o 13th, 30th; Isaah Yeo 8th; Stephen Crichton 49th; Scott Sorensen 59th; Luke Garner 62nd
Goals: (6) Nathan Cleary 4th, 9th, 14th, 21st, 50th, 60th
This match was always set to be an uneven one, with the Panthers sitting atop the ladder and playing at home, whilst the Bulldogs’ only hope is to avoid a second wooden spoon in three years. The match up was further tilted to favour Penrith when they welcomed back Stephen Crichton, Brian To’o, Liam Martin, and Isaah Yeo after being rested last week following their State of Origin duties, as well as captain Nathan Cleary returning from a five-week stint on the sideline for his 150th NRL game. The odds were stacked even further against Canterbury, with Josh Addo-Carr (hamstring) and Viliame Kikau (pectoral) withdrawn from the side on Saturday.
The home side got off to a brilliant start, with the Panthers grabbing their first five tries of the day within the opening half an hour of play. It was an effort from Yeo, and doubles from To’o and late inclusion Tyrone Peachey, that gave Penrith a very comfortable 28-point lead with 10 minutes to play before the break. The Bulldogs finally got themselves on the board in the 36th minute through Paul Alamoti – and trailed 28-6 at half-time.
It took less than 10 minutes following the resumption of play for the Panthers to add to their tally for the day, with Origin returnee Crichton adding his name to the scoresheet. Scott Sorensen followed shortly after to grab a four-pointer of his own, before Luke Garner also slid over the line for the Panthers’ eighth try of the match.
The Bulldogs didn’t go down without a bit of fight, with Jake Averillo crashing over with eight left to play, closely followed by Jeral Skelton, who bagged his first NRL try in the dying minutes of the game. These tries were – of course – too little too late, but did leave the final scores at a slightly more respectable 44-16.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 – Brian To’o (Panthers)
2 – Tyrone Peachey (Panthers)
1 – Nathan Cleary (Panthers)