The Bulldogs have grabbed their first competition points of the season after a dramatic win against the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
To suggest that the performance was polished or precise would be foolish yet the blue and whites somehow found a way to get the job done against a professional and persistent opposition.
From the opening minutes, the Bulldogs looked energetic and enthusiastic and off the back of some early penalties Moses Mbye crashed over to open the scoring. The missed conversion was disappointing yet the home side slipped straight back into gear and continued building pressure on the visitors.
The 11th minute try to Josh Morris was a piece of luck that warmed the hearts of the Dogs’ faithful who may have felt that the raw speed of the centre was behind him. Morris sped away and the Panthers were shocked, stunned and down by ten after the conversion.
Eight minutes later the Panthers found themselves down by fourteen for the third week in succession and despite the missed conversion by Mbye, the Bulldogs appeared to be well on top. Goal kicking will continue to be a significant issue for the Doggies and something they will need to address and improve if they are to have any chance of playing finals football in 2018.
In a frantic end to the half, the Panthers scored next before the Bulldogs added another settling try and a Dylan Edwards four-pointer sent the teams to the break at 20-12. Considering the comebacks from the Panthers in the first two weeks of the competition, things looked precarious for the Dogs after a good run of penalties and a few things going their way in the first period.
As we would expect from the gritty mob from the inner-west, the second-half became a grind and one in which the blue and whites revelled, despite the ultimately close finish.
It took thirty-three minutes of the second period for points to be scored after a Josh Mansour try and a James Maloney conversion and the Bulldogs presented the visitors with plenty of opportunities to potentially seal the victory.
Some stern defence and a little bit of luck along the way allowed Canterbury to hold on and claim their first points of the season in a 20-18 win that tested the nerves of the players and the fans alike.
Far from pretty, it was a determined and gutsy win against a very professional team and one from which the fans can take much heart. The Rabbitohs will present another stern challenge in week four as they face the Dogs in the traditional Good Friday game at ANZ Stadium.
The Bunnies will be flying high after a thumping win against the Eagles and the Bulldogs will be looking to get their season rolling with back to back wins.
Canterbury-Bankstown 20 Penrith 18
What was your take on the game? Are the Dogs back on track?
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