The Panthers continued to deny the naysayers with their 28-12 win over the Bulldogs and veteran hooker Peter Wallace believes Penrith's form is no fluke.
Penrith extended their winning run to six games following an emphatic second-half display with the team taking full advantage of the license to thrill handed to them by coach Anthony Griffin.
As the likes of Josh Mansour, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and skipper Matt Moylan ran rampant, Wallace steered the ship from dummy half and watched on as the Panthers "showed what they're capable of".
"It's no fluke what we're doing," Wallace said after the win.
"We have our structures that we stick to but Hook's a big believer that if we see something then back yourself and play what's in front of you.
"We have a big understanding about how we want to play so it's ticking along nicely at the moment.
"We have been doing it consistently for the past couple of months so we didn't want to go outside of that in the finals."
STAT ATTACK - See the big numbers from the win: http://bit.ly/StatAttackWk1
Many in the lead-up to Penrith's 16-point win suggested their lack of finals experience could cost them against the Bulldogs' star-studded forward pack.
While the Bulldogs looked ominous in the opening 20 minutes, Penrith remained hell-bent on weathering the storm after Moses Mbye's 14th-minute try.
Watene-Zelezniak's try four minutes from the break proved the turning point, sparking them into scoring four second-half tries.
"We knew they were going to come out really fast and it was a tough first half. We went set-for-set with them and we knew if we could do that and hold them there, we'd get a few shots in the second half," Wallace said.
"I'm really proud of the boys for taking advantage of it. We took plenty of confidence out of our try just before half-time. The Dogs were probably on top for the majority of the first half by holding us in our own end so that was a massive bonus for us."
Hear Leilani Latu's heartfelt tribute to the fans: http://bit.ly/PostSauce2
Wallace was one of Penrith's try-scorers in the 53rd minute and his immediate reaction highlighted exactly what the Panthers mean to him.
But the 30-year-old was also realistic in knowing the part played by his younger teammates – particularly Tyrone Peachey and Moylan – to not only set up his try but also to spark the team over the past couple of months.
"It was a nice try to be on the end of. The boys' lead-up play was really good and in the context of the game it was an important sort of try so it's not hard to work out why I was happy," Wallace said.
"Probably over the past eight weeks it's been really pleasing how they've come of age I suppose.
"They're playing a flashy brand of footy but doing the tough stuff as they did in the first half. We held in well and we really took it to the Dogs."
Waqa Blake (shoulder) remains the Panthers' only concern ahead of their do-or-die semi-final clash against the Raiders this Saturday night.
This article first appeared on NRL.com.