Tamou double downs the Dogs
A James Tamou double helped the Panthers secure a 28-18 victory over the Bulldogs in their opening Auckland Nines clash at Eden Park.
Coach Anthony Griffin named his big guns to start against the Bulldogs as the Panthers looked to get off to a flyer in Auckland.
The Bulldogs would start the stronger as Brad Abbey nearly went the length of the field before Dylan Edwards managed to stop him short with a miraculous last ditch tackle. They would regain the ball soon after and put on the first points of the game through Francis Tualau.
It didn't take long for the Panthers to respond as James Tamou marked his first touch as a Panther by breaking free of two defenders and then stepping his way to the bonus zone to take a 7-6 lead.
It opened the floodgates for the Panthers as they ran riot to cross over three more times in the half through Kaide Ellis, Corey Harawira-Naera and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak to hold a 21-6 lead at half time.
The second half would start just like the first with the Dogs crossing over first before another Tamou bonus try would push the score out to 28-11.
The Bulldogs would cross over for another bonus try on the stroke of full time but it would prove to be too little, too late as the Panthers ran out 28-18 winners in the team's first group game.