The Panthers Under 20’s have had the perfect start to the season, posting a 30-12 win over the Bulldogs at Pepper Stadium this afternoon.
The Panthers were first to put points on the board thanks to a brilliant cut out pass from Sione Katoa to Soni Luke, who flicked it off to Fairouz Elkander and put him into some open space on the 10m line, before he dived over to score in the 12th minute. Dylan Edwards converted to put the home side ahead 6-0.
Penrith maintained their momentum a few minutes later when Tyrone May capitalized off a slow restart and spotted an easy gap in the defence, before sprinting to the line to plant the ball down just outside the left hand upright. The conversion from in front increased our lead to 12-0.
With 15 minutes remaining in the first half, the Mountain Men had their third unanswered try thanks to a quick play the ball from Sione Katoa to Dylan Fuad, whose short power play burst through the final 5 metres and over the line. The kick added the extra 2 to extend the score to 18-0.
The Bulldogs almost hit back in the next set of six, but some solid Panthers defence held Brendan Cox up over the line.
The Panthers scored again with less than 5 minutes until the half time break thanks to a dazzling display of ball work from Brent Naden who slipped through a hole 20m out and jogged over to score. The conversion extended our lead even further to 24-0.
HALF TIME: 24 – 0 Panthers
The start of this half showcased the Panthers defence prowess when they fielded an attacking onslaught from the Doggies who dominated possession in the opening minutes. An impressive display from Logan Geyer derailed Canterbury’s next scoring attempt in the 44th minute, after he pushed their forward into touch.
The Bulldogs onslaught eventually paid off with Josh Bergamin sailing through our backline to score their first points in the 50th minute. The conversion took the score to 24-6.
It looked like a comeback could be on the cards for the Canterbury youngsters when they sent a flurry of passes across the park which scattered the Panthers defence, and sent winger Joseph Burchell over the try-line on the right hand side. The swinging kick through the posts narrowed the gap to 24-12.
But the Panthers weren’t ready to give up just yet and with a bamboozling ball play from the home side, Maliko Filino ran through the Doggies defence and around under the posts to reassert the home side’s dominance in the 67th minute. The conversion pushed the Panthers lead to 30-12.
The rest of the match bounced from one end of the field to the other, and despite numerous attempts by the visitors to put more points on the board, the home side held strong to walk away with their first win of the season.
FULL TIME: 30-12 Panthers