PANTHERS BURY BULL­DOGS’ HOPE

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PANTHERS BULL­DOGS PANTHERS

PENRITH have put pres­sure on St Ge­orge Illawarra to hold on to their spot in the NRL top eight af­ter out­last­ing a stub­born Can­ter­bury out­fit 16- 8 at Pep­per Sta­dium.

With scores level at 8- 8 at half­time, the game re­mained in the bal­ance last night un­til an ac­ro­batic try by Dallin Watene- Zelez­niak put the Panthers ahead in the 57th minute. That fol­lowed an im­pres­sive de­fen­sive dis­play by the Bull­dogs, who held the Panthers out for 18 straight plays on their goalline mid­way through the sec­ond half.

But a cru­cial Ker­rod Hol­land turnover gave the home side one more crack, and Waqa Blake put Watene- Zelez­niak over in the corner to the de­light of the 8727 crowd.

A hand­ful of er­rors in­vited the Bull­dogs back into the con­test but the vis­i­tors con­tin­ued to strug­gle in at­tack and failed to con­vert.

Penrith’s Ty­rone Peachey sealed the win when he scored af­ter a Will Hopoate fum­ble in the 70th minute.

The win ex­tends the Panthers’ win­ning streak to four and lifts them to 24 points along­side the eighth- placed Dragons who face Newcastle to­mor­row. The de­feat ends the faint finals hopes of the Bull­dogs.

Penrith took an 8- 0 lead inside 20 min­utes with a Nathan Cleary penalty goal and Peter Wal­lace’s try.

But mo­men­tum swung on two tackle- one er­rors by Watene- Zelez­niak, with Bull­dogs five- eighth Josh Reynolds tak­ing ad­van­tage by scor­ing.

The sec­ond blun­der from Watene- Zelez­niak led to Hol­land lev­el­ling the scores with a penalty goal.

Bull­dogs prop Sam Kasiano lasted five min­utes be­fore bruis­ing his ster­num in the first half, while Panthers coun­ter­part Leilani Latu broke his jaw early in the sec­ond pe­riod.

AC­RO­BATIC: Dallin WateneZelez­niak dives over to score for the Panthers.

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