Two tries and a crucial 40/20 from Wayde Egan helped guide the NYC Panthers to a 36-18 victory over the Bulldogs at Pepper Stadium on Thursday.
Billy Burns marked his return from injury with a solo effort in the 6th minute to get his side off to the perfect start. A kick from the Bulldogs was smothered by the backrower and popped up kindly for him to regather and race 50 metres for a 4-0 lead.
The Bulldogs hit back with their own mid-field effort in the 24th minute when Blake Clayton charged on to a short ball from Kiko Manu and ran around the defence to bring his side level, before Adam Keighran kicked them in front from the sideline.
Burns grabbed his second on the half hour mark after a perfectly-timed short ball from Sam Martin-Savage put him in a gaping hole close to the line, which was converted by Dean Blore, for a 10-6 lead.
The two sides continued to trade tries when a set play led to Joseph Tramontana linking up with Keighran to wrestle his way over the line with five minutes left in the half. Michael Doolan took over the kicking duties as he converted to put his side ahead 12-10.
The visitors would extend their lead on the stroke of half-time when Tui Katoa capped off a sweeping left-edge move to go over in the corner. Doolan landed the sideline conversion to hand his side an 18-10 lead at the interval.
HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 10 – 18 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Skipper Wayde Egan quickly went about chipping away at the deficit when he crashed over next to the uprights but Blore was unable to land the conversion as the score remained 18-14.
The Panthers drew level just shy of the hour when Burns crossed over for his hat-trick but again the boot of Blore let him down to keep scores locked up at 18-all.
They finally took the lead in the 65th minute when Egan pierced through the Bulldogs defence for his second of the game, before Blore added the extras to push the score out to 24-18.
The rout continued from the restart when Richie Munchow carried his side up field leading to Martin-Savage’s cut-out pass finding Daniel Brown out wide. Blore kicked the sideline conversion to stretch the lead out to two converted tries at 30-18.
Their fifth of the half sealed victory seven minutes from time when Caleb Aekins bamboozled the defence to put Blore in space. After converting his own try the scoreboard read 36-18 in favour of the hosts as they left a stunned Bulldogs outfit in their wake following a blowout second-half performance.
FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 36 – 18 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs