Sunday 30th May at Penrith Stadium
Penrith 40 – Tries: Waterhouse (2), Galea (1), Galuvao (1), Girdler (1), Lewis (1), Priddis (1); Goals: Campbell (2), Girdler (2), Roberts (2) | Bulldogs 29
The Bulldogs opened the scoring with an unconverted try, but the Panthers countered in the 12th minute when Luke Priddis burrowed over from dummy half, with Ryan Girdler’s sideline conversion making it 6-4.
Three minutes later, Luke Lewis hit a wide gap from a Preston Campbell cut out pass, and with the two on one fooled the Bulldogs cover defence to cross over adjacent to the uprights. Girdler’s extras made it 12-4.
A converted try and penalty conversion to the visitors had it locked up at 12-all after 23 minutes, and then regained the lead with yet another converted try to make it 18-12 after 29 minutes.
Girdler snatched an intercept and ran 90 metres to scramble to the try line but sustained a hamstring injury on the run. Unable to take the conversion, Campbell stepped in and nailed the sideline conversion to make it 18-all.
However, a converted try and then field goal to the Bulldogs pushed them ahead again, and hold a 25-18 lead at half time.
Three minutes after the resumption, the Panthers reduced the advantage when an Amos Roberts grubber kick at close range ricocheted off the Bulldogs defensive line and fell into Trent Waterhouse’s hands, and he strolled through a gap. Campbell’s conversion made it 25-24.
The Bulldogs replied soon after with a try to make it 29-24.
In the 55th minute, Penrith hit back again with a try to Danny Galea who ran a hard line back inside off a Priddis pass only metres from the try line. However, the conversion was unsuccessful and the Bulldogs retained their slender 29-28 lead.
For the next 20 minutes, it was an enthralling grind as both teams tried to win the arm wrestle.
In the 75th minute, the Panthers at close range swung the ball to the left and Priddis was able to draw two defenders towards him, and with the gap created held out a pass to Waterhouse who hit the hole and crossed over. With Campbell off the field, Amos Roberts took over the goal kicking duties, and made it 34-29.
The Bulldogs were able to regain possession off the restart, but their fifth tackle kick was taken by Luke Rooney in the field of play. At the end of that set, a Priddis cross field bomb was taken by Galea, and with the tackle set not restarted, he shovelled the ball off to Joe Galuvao who barged his way over the make it 38-29. Roberts’ conversion iced a captivating come from behind victory.