The Bulldogs NSW Cup side have today been defeated 26-20 by the Panthers at Pepper Park in Penrith.
It was five tries to four at the end of 80 minutes.
Coach Andy Patmore was able to go into the match with the side that he named earlier in the week with the inclusion of Moses Mbye a welcomed addition.
It was in the ninth minute the Panthers opened the scoring through fullback Kieran Moss. It was a break down the right hand side that started the movement and a simple inside ball put Moss into space and he went over to score. Will Smith couldn’t convert with the lead 4-nil.
The lead was extended eight minutes later through new recruit Api Koroisau with Smith able to convert on this occasion with the score now 10-nil.
Fullback Corey Thompson opened the scoring for the blue and whites off the back of a dart out of dummy-half by Damien Cook who then drew the fullback in and found Thompson on the inside who went over under the posts. Chase Stanley converted to close the gap to 10-6.
Ten minutes later back rower Adam Elliott scored after receiving a quality ball from Mbye. It was however, a smart line run by the Bega junior who crashed over to score. Stanley converted to put the Bulldogs in front 12-10.
The Bulldogs were dealt a blow on the stroke of half-time when Smith crossed for the Panthers. He was able to convert his own try and put the home side back in front 14-12 at the break.
The second half didn’t start well with an error from the kick-off gifting Penrith possession. From that set they cruised over through five-eighth Isaac John. Adrian Davis converted with the score now 20-12 after 42 minutes.
Just three minutes later Ben Murdoch-Masila crossed. Thompson tried gallantly to hold up the big man but he managed to fight the fullback off to score. Davis again converted with the lead now out beyond the two converted tries, 26-12.
The Bulldogs were able to fight back and score tries in the 58th (Tyrone Phillips) and the 73rd (Stanley) minutes to close the gap but the centre was unable to convert either try with the score staying at 26-20 when the full-time siren sounded.
PANTHERS 26 (Moss, Koroisau, Smith, John, Murdoch-Masila Tries; Smith 1, Davis 2 Goals) Def. BULLDOGS 20 (Thompson, Elliott, Phillips, Stanley Tries; Stanley 2 Goals)
At: Pepper Stadium, Penrith