If the Bulldogs had played a better first half they might've given the Roosters a much greater scare last week.
They should take confidence from their second-half performance and will be looking to cause a boilover on Saturday at Bankwest Stadium.
Winning seven straight games in the NRL is no walk in the park and it's not all that surprising the Panthers couldn't extend the streak to eight against Canberra.
It'll be interesting to see how they react to their first loss in two months against a team they're expected to beat.
Bulldogs: No changes from last week as coach Dean Pay keeps faith in the 17 who pushed the premiers all the way in a 20-12 loss on Sunday. Brandon Wakeham and Ofahiki Ogden were omitted 24 hours before kick-off, while Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Jayden Okunbor were the last players cut before kick-off.
Panthers: No panic for Ivan Cleary despite the winning run ending at seven on Sunday. The same 17 players will take the field this weekend with the only slight change being Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin switching places in the back row. Jed Cartwright and Hame Sele dropped out of the extended squad on Friday, while Spencer Leniu and Stephen Crichton were omitted an hour before kick-off.
After a sub-par start to the year, fullback Dylan Edwards has been sensational recently as the Panthers have found their groove. He is up against former team-mate Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who has a point to prove at the back given he wasn't seen as a genuine custodian by the Panthers.
For the Bulldogs to win
Dean Pay has to focus on what his side did right in the second half against the Roosters and pick up where they left off in terms of defending strongly and looking for areas to exploit in attack. If they can get away to a good start it could stir the Panthers into panic mode.
For the Panthers to win
They had grand plans to send the Raiders packing last Sunday and were clearly frustrated that things didn't work out as they'd hoped. But it's their first loss in eight games and Ivan Cleary won't be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If the forwards leave their mark it should allow Nathan Cleary and James Maloney to create ample scoring chances.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Dogs make everyone fight to beat them. The unfortunate thing for Canterbury is that if Penrith get to 20 points you can’t see Canterbury winning. It is going to be a grind for Penrith but the Bulldogs’ struggles in attack put this in the Panthers’ favour. Panthers by 8
James Maloney is a born winner, but there's one glaring blight on the Penrith playmaker's record. He has the unwanted honour of sitting atop the most penalties conceded category in 2019, earning the referees' ire an average of 1.3 times per match.
And another thing ...
A couple of ex-Panthers will be relishing their first clash with their former team-mates on Saturday night. Back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera left the Panthers to join the Doggies in the off-season, while fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak signed with the Dogs in June after being granted a mid-season release from Penrith.