The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have ended the finals hopes of the Penrith Panthers with a strong second half performance to defeat them 34-14 in front of 15,313 at ANZ Stadium.
James Graham was fired up in the contest as he charged through the Panthers pack to post first points inside the first 5 minutes. The Bulldogs led 6-0 with the conversion from Trent Hodkinson
Penrith returned serve minutes later as Isaac John was gifted a try thanks to a surging try from Lewis Brown. Penrith locked the game up with the boot of Luke Walsh, 6-all after 8 minutes.
Powerful winger, Josh Mansour easily fended past Bulldogs fullback Josh Morris to post the second Penrith try in the western corner. The Panthers kicked ahead to 12-6 after 13 minutes.
After a scrappy 20 minutes, Luke Walsh opted to extend the Panthers lead to 8 points with a penalty goal, 14-6.
Just before the time keeper could reach for the siren, Tim Lafai finished off a brilliant piece of play from the Bulldogs as he scored in the 40th minute. Tony Williams charged through the defence to link with Mitch Brown who kicked ahead for Lafai. At the break, the Panthers leading 14-12 with Walsh's penalty goal the difference.
Momentum continued to build in the second half as the Bulldogs scored for four unanswered tries in the second half.
Tim Lafai crafted his second try with a skillful display as he juggled a pass from Josh Morris to plant the ball down. Bulldogs extended to 18-14 to take the lead once again.
Mitch Brown upstaging Tim Lafai as he reached over his head to ground the ball on the whitewash off a floating pass. Canterbury on a roll as the points continued to flow, 22-14 after 57 minutes.
The Bulldogs closed the game with two further tries as Krisnan Inu and Trent Hodkinson added their names to the scorers sheet. Penrith unable to fight back as they had no interchanges left inside the final 20 minutes. The Bulldogs dashing the finals hopes of the Panthers with a 34-14 victory.
Next week, the Bulldogs head across the border to face the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. Meanwhile the Panthers cross the Split bridge to battle the flying Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.