The penultimate round of the season came to a close on Monday night with the Penrith Panthers holding on to outscore the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, denying Brett Kimmorley the fairy tale final home game win he was hoping for before retiring at the end of the season.
Penrith are now in third spot on the ladder and look set to finish in the top four this season after posting back-to-back wins.
Punters that backed the Panthers to ‘Make the Top 4’ at SportsBet should enjoy a juicy win next week
The Bulldogs on the other hand will be keen to see this season finish, after one of the early favourites in the premiership title betting markets at SportsBet have continued to disappoint and are now 13th on the ladder.
It was a strong second half comeback from the Panthers after they were down by 16 points after the opening 15 minutes.
Canterbury were first to score on Monday night when Steve Turner got over just four minutes into the match, the kick from Bryson Goodwin giving the home side an early six point advantage.
Just five minutes later the Dogs were at it again, Jamal Idris posting their second converted try so they were up 12 points in just 10 minutes.
Things quickly got worse still for the Panthers, after Canterbury scored another try just six minutes later, Andrew Ryan getting over in the 15th minute to extend their lead to 16 points.
The Panthers looked to head to halftime still scoreless, by Sandor Earl eventually opened their account in the 37th minute. Michael Gordon converted with ease and the score was 16 – 6 in favour of the Doggies at the break.
No more points were scored until the 60th minute when Penrith began their comeback with a Brad Tighe four-pointer converted by Gordon to bring the game within four points.
Less than five minutes later the Panthers were at it again this time Trent Waterhouse going over for a converted try that pushed them to the lead 18 – 16.
Before big cat celebrations could begin, the Bulldogs were awarded a 69th minute penalty kicked by Goodwin that bought the game to an 18 all deadlock.
The penalty was against Penrith skipper Petero Civoniceva for a swinging arm hit on Gary Warburton that saw the mountain man sent off with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Penrith coach Matthew Elliott is now dreading the possibility of playing in the semis without Civoniceva, who is awaiting a review that could end with a four-match ban.
When the score was still tied with less than a minute left on the clock it looked like the Monday night match would move into extra time, before Michael Jennings flew down the field and scored the winning try for the Panthers with five seconds to spare, Gordon adding the extra two points from the kick to give Penrith a 24 – 18 victory.
It was a disappointing result for the Dog’s retiring captain Brett Kimmorley who attempted what could possibly have been a match-winning field goal in the final minute, but missed after Travis Burns blocked the ball.
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