The Bulldogs Holden Cup side have today registered their first win of season 2014 with a 34-14 win over the Panthers at Sportingbet Stadium.
It was 14-all at half-time and the young pups managed to keep the home side scoreless in the second half which is a positive in what were trying conditions due to the heat.
There were plenty of changes to both sides prior to kick-off. Kyle Krisanski-Kennedy, Tyrone Gorman and Sonny Tupuolo were all listed to make their first appearance in the Holden Cup for the season.
The conditions were extremely warm at the foot of the mountains and it took 22 minutes before the scoreboard ticked over for the first time. The big forwards were working their way through the middle and it was prop forward Brock Cope who barged over from three metres out to score under the uprights. Halfback Brendan Cox converted to put the young pups in front 6-nil.
From the kick-off the Bulldogs made an error and in the ensuing set back rower managed to get his hands free and flick the ball out to centre Waqa Blake who crossed to score. Cartwright converted to level the scores at 6-all after 26 minutes.
It was tit-for-tat with the young pups going over to score their second in the 28th minute. It was enterprising play with back rower Shaun Lane cruising through a gap and into open space. He found Cox on the inside and when the halfback opted to pass it on it was knocked down by the Panthers, Lane then picked up the loose ball and went over to score. Cox again converted to put the Bulldogs back in front, 12-6.
The Panthers crossed for two tries in five minutes through Brent Naden and Joshua Jay. Cartwright couldn’t convert either four-pointer, leaving the Panthers in front 14-12.
Back to back penalties put the Bulldogs in good field position as the half-time siren sounded and Cox decided to take the attempt at two points to level the scores. He was successful from first to the right of the uprights and the sides went to the break level at 14-all.
A Moses Leota error just 30m out from his own line gifted the Bulldogs possession and the young pups didn’t disappoint. A quick shift from right to left saw Aaron Pene go over in the north-west corner to score. Cox beautifully converted from the sideline to break the deadlock and put the score out to 20-14 after 48 minutes.
A swift backline movement saw fullback Krisanski-Kennedy go over to score his first try of the season. Cox couldn’t convert with the score now 24-14 after 57 minutes.
With the Panthers on the attack the young pups looked to be in trouble but an error was swooped on by captain Adam Elliott and after running 70m the back rower was brought down. With the weather starting to take full effect, the Panthers were struggling. The ball was able to be sent out to the left and Pene crossed for his second. Cox again converted with the lead now out to 30-14.
Aaron Pene was able to add to his tally with the left winger registering his hat-trick in the 77th minute. A Lane rocket pass cut out his centre and the winger flew on to the ball to score. Cox couldn’t convert on this occasion with the score staying at 34-14 through until the final siren.
BULLDOGS 34 (Pene 3, Cope, Lane, Krisanski-Kennedy Tries; Cox 5 Goals)
PANTHERS 14 (Blake, Naden, Jay Tries; Cartwright 1 Goal)
At: Sportingbet Stadium