First Encounters: Bulldogs v Panthers
Tuesday 27 August 2013 10:46 AM
We have dusted off the history records at Bulldogs HQ to bring you all the information from the first time the Bulldogs ever played against the Penrith Panthers!
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs took on the Penrith Panthers when the greater west club was established in 1967.
A top level rugby league team surfaced in the Penrith area in the 1960’s and were referred to as the Penrith Panthers. A public competition, won by a graphic artist from Emu Plains named Deidre Copeland, established the panther logo and brought the club one step closer from entering the NSWRL.
In 1966 three Sydney based teams were competing for induction to the Sydney premiership including Penrith, Cronulla-Sutherland, and the Wentworthville Magpies.
After winning the 1966 second division title, Penrith became the stand out choice in Western Sydney as well as Cronulla-Sutherland to be included in the 1967 competition.
1967 was an eventful year in Rugby League and a memorable one for Canterbury.
Author of the Bulldog Story Gary Lester summed up some of the big changes in that season that saw a shift of momentum swing back in Canterbury’s favour:
“THE year 1967 saw the advent of Cronulla and Penrith to Sydney league, and the introduction of the four tackle rule. The new limited tackle law was perhaps the most controversial rule change in the game's history. Play during the 1960s had become stodgy and many felt it was without variety and skill. The league believed spectators looked for more in their football; that they were not prepared to watch teams hold the ball for 10 and 15 minutes at a time, simply running off the dummy-half without another pass in the movement. It was a bright new era for the game... new clubs and a new rule to change the tempo.”
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs were captained and coached by Kevin Ryan who was purchased that season from reigning champions St George Illawarra for a hefty and much talked about transfer fee which originally stood at around $7000 but was reduced by order of the NSW Rugby League to $4500.
Ryan stayed on as captain-coach for four years and led the team to the Grand Final against South Sydney in 1967.
The first Bulldogs v Panthers game was played at the Bulldogs spiritual home Belmore Sports Ground on the 2nd of April in round 1 of the NSWRFL season. Canterbury scraped away with the win 15-12 in front of a crowd of 10,250.
For the full match report and much more, check out the Bulldogs Online History Database: