The ISP Panthers have fallen to an 18-14 defeat at the hands of Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in a scrappy affair at St Mary’s Stadium.
A relieving penalty inside five minutes helped the Bulldogs up field on their way to scoring the opening points of the game.
Francis Tualau found himself one-on-one close to the line and managed to barge over the defence, before Rhyse Martin’s kick gave the visitors a 6-0 lead.
It would only last a matter of moments, though, as the Panthers capitalised on their own penalty.
A jinking Jarome Luai offloaded to Mitch Rein who punched through the defence to level the scores after Darren Nicolls’ conversion.
More ill-discipline would create another opportunity for the Bulldogs to attack the Panthers line and they once again converted through Josh Cleeland.
The five-eighth managed to squeeze through a gap in the defence to push the score out to 12-6 following another successful Martin conversion.
Their lead doubled just shy of the half-hour mark through skipper Craig Garvey.
A quick play the ball under the black dot allowed the dummy-half to scoot over for his side’s third try before the break.
HALF TIME: Penrith Panthers 6 – 18 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
An error-riddled opening to the second half blighted both sides’ opportunities to build pressure in the opposition half before some inspiration from Nicholls.
A 40/20 from the five-eighth inside the hour mark would set the platform for Dylan Edwards to score, courtesy of another Luai offload, and cut the deficit to eight points.
A late try to Lachlan Stein on the stroke of full-time brought the Panthers back to within four points; however, it would prove to be only a consolation try as a host of attacking opportunities were squandered to hand the Bulldogs victory.
FULL TIME: Penrith Panthers 14 – 18 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs