It was a hot and steamy day at Pepper Stadium in Penrith as the Panthers came from behind to win 28-24 in the NYC trial match.
Both sides were running with large squads, with the blue and whites naming 30 players for the trial.
It was the home side who opened the scoring in the third minute of play through Soni Luke. Back to back sets had the Bulldogs reeling and Luke barged over out wide. Nick Greenhalgh had the kicking duties for the Panthers but couldn’t convert on this occasion, with the score staying at 4-nil.
The match was played through the middle for the next 12 minutes before the Bulldogs kicked into gear and opened their account. Prop forward Lachlan Lee opened the scoring with a strong carry through the middle. Zac Greene converted, to put the pups in front, 6-4.
Winger Thomas Harvey crossed in the 20th minute off the back of an enterprising piece of play and Greene smartly converted from out wide.
Seven minutes later Kiko Manu extended the lead and Greene again converted, leaving the scoreboard at 18-4.
The Panthers scored two converted tries in the closing 10 minutes, with the Bulldogs holding on to a small two-point lead at the half-time, 18-16.
The weather, mixed with a number of changes being made saw the standard drop slightly, with a number of errors being made. It wasn’t until the 62nd minute that the first points of the second half were scored. It was Josh Farrant who extended the lead with Sonny Rupapera converting, to extend the lead out to 24-16.
It was all the Panthers in the final 15 minutes with two converted tries being scored, giving the home side a 28-24 victory.
BULLDOGS 24 (L Lee, T Harvey, K Manu, J Farrant; Z Greene 3, S Rupapera 1 Goals)
At: Pepper Stadium