It was never a promising season for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
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Penrith will have skipper Craig Gower back before the finals after he had successful knee surgery yesterday afternoon.
It was feared Gower could miss the rest of the National Rugby League season, including the finals, after he suffered his second knee injury this year while training last Thursday.
Gower was preparing for his comeback match after sustaining a similar injury to the same knee in the first State of Origin match at Telstra Stadium last month.
Gower is likely to miss the next three weeks of football while he recovers from the injury.
Meanwhile, in a further boost to the Panthers, talented youngsters Frank Pritchard and Danny Galea have re-signed with the club.
Pritchard will remain with Penrith for at least the next three years and Galea for at least two.
"It's great news," said Panthers Football Operations Manager Michael Leary. "Frank would have to be one of the most sought after players coming off contract and it is good to know he wants to stay with Penrith. Danny is a fine player with a lot of potential and we were anxious to keep him."