A clinical Panthers outfit have demolished the Bulldogs 38-0 at ANZ Stadium.
Debutant Mitch Rein had a day to remember scoring twice, while Matt Moylan made a successful transition in to the halves to steer the side to a valuable win.
A shaky start from the hosts afforded the Panthers with the first opportunity to lay on the opening points of the game, which they would do courtesy of a sublime pass from Nathan Cleary inside the opening five minutes.
The halfback got on the outside of his man and put Corey Harawira-Naera through the line with a perfectly timed pass for the backrower to crash over. Cleary’s conversion would sail wide of the uprights to keep the score at 4-0.
Midway through the half the Panthers doubled their lead through first-timer Rein. A break on halfway from Matt Moylan stretched the defence and despite Reagan Campbell-Gillard going close on the previous play, Rein caught the Dogs defence flat-footed with a dummy to scoot over from the ruck. Cleary had no problems with his second attempt at goal to stretch the lead out to 10-0.
The Panthers were on a roll and Moylan would add the finishing touches to another dominant set on the half hour mark. Isaiah Yeo burst clear on halfway to carry the Panthers to the Bulldogs line, then receiving a Leilani Latu pass to find his skipper on the outside to go over untouched. Cleary’s conversion struck the upright and bounced out as the Panthers held a 14-0 lead, which they would hold on to heading in to half-time.
HALF-TIME: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 0 – 14 Penrith Panthers
An energised Bulldogs outfit emerged for the second half looking to regain some ground on the Panthers, but it was the visitors who would cross next to extend their lead.
Moylan drew the attention of the defence before putting Yeo in a gap who managed to get an arm free to feed Waqa Blake. Cleary sunk his conversion to push the score out to 20-0 with half an hour left in the game.
The Panthers had their fifth midway through the half after another rampaging run from Trent Merrin. The lock forward carved through the defence to carry his side to the Bulldogs line, leading to a Josh Mansour grubber for Cleary to dive on. He would convert his own try as the Panthers pushed out to a 26-0 lead.
Moments later Rein would cross over for his second. A Cleary bomb fell to the hands of Blake to cut inside and find the hooker in support who stretched over next to the uprights. Cleary added the easy extras to make it 32-0.
With a minute left on the clock, Mansour capped off a successful return to the NRL by diving over in the corner to seal the convincing win. Cleary’s sideline conversion curled in as the Panthers ran out 38-0 winners.
FULL-TIME: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 0 – 38 Penrith Panthers