Panthers chalk up first victory in

Fulltime: Round 1
Penrith Panthers 24 def. Canterbury Bulldogs 22

Match summary:

The Penrith Panthers have run out 24-22 winners over the Canterbury Bulldogs this evening at Telstra Stadium.

In an error filled match, the Panthers held on to outlast the Bulldogs to register their first victory of 2006.

The Bulldogs will have to go back to basics as they were poor in almost all aspects of their game, but their unforced errors at crucial stages throughout the match cost the Bulldogs dearly.

For the Panthers, both Craig Gower and Preston Campbell had strong games while Rhys Wesser was always a threat from the back.

Tony Puletua led well up front and his brother Frank followed suit while Joel Clinton set his sights on Willie Mason and they eventually came to blows midway through the second half.

It?s too early in the season to write any team off and injuries are always a factor but the Bulldogs have now lost seven straight matches dating back to last year and that is a dubious 51 year record they have matched.

Round 1 - FULL TIME
Telstra Stadium
Referee: Sean Hamptstead


Canterbury Bulldogs: 22
Tries: Hazem El Masri, Mark O'Meley, Luke Patten, Willie Tonga
Goals: Hazem El Masri 3/4
Penrith Panthers: 24
Tries: Craig Gower, Matthew Cross, Nick Youngquest, Lee Hookey
Goals: Preston Campbell 4/5

Match commentary

1 min: NEWS Kickoff! We are underway at Telstra Stadium.

4 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Willie Tonga opens the Bulldogs account as the Bulldogs spread the ball wide and it was too easy in the end.
Bulldogs 4-0

10 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Nick Youngquest scores out wide off the back off a very simple backline movement. The Bulldogs defence out wide was paper thin.
Panthers 6-4

14 min: PENALTY GOAL Penrith Panthers
Preston Campbell converts a penalty to extend the Panthers lead.
Panthers 8-4

18 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
The Bulldogs hit back with a try to Luke Patten out wide. Defene hasn't been a high priority for either side so far tonight.
Bulldogs 10-8

23 min: NEWS Both teams playing poorly with a lot of lost possession and poor defence making the game a wide open affair.

30 min: NEWS Rhys Wesser drops the ball with the line wide open off a Craig Gower grubber. A lost opportunity to give the Panthers the lead.

35 min: NEWS Penrith with repeat sets of six starting to apply the pressure to the Dogs defence.

36 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Goer crosses under the sticks as the Dogs defence again goes to water with the Panthers putting players in motion.
Panthers 14-10

44 min: NEWS Bulldogs not showing the ball enough respect and are yet to make an impact in the second half.

51 min: NEWS Grimaldi spills the ball on his own 30 metre line to add more pressure to the Dogs defence.

53 min: NEWS Penrith on the attack on metres out from the Bulldogs line

55 min: NEWS Priddis throws the ball to Andrew Ryan to give the Bulldogs a stay of execution.

58 min: NEWS Possible try to the Panthers. Video ref decision pending.

58 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Lee Hookey scores in the corner to extend the Panthers lead.
Panthers 18-10

67 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
El Masri scores to get the Dogs back into the game.
Bulldogs 22-18

75 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Cross scores to put the result beyond doubt to give the Panthers a hard fought first up victory in 2006
Panthers 24-16

80 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
O'Meley scores to give the final scoreline some respectability.
Panthers 24-22
----------------------------------------- players of the match:
3 - Craig Gower (Panthers)
2 - Willie Mason (Bulldogs)
1 - Rhys Wesser (Panthers)