Panthers defeat Bulldogs and keep
finals hope alive

Fulltime score: Round 25 BULLDOGS 6 v PANTHERS 28

Match summary: Penrith Panthers have kept their finals hopes alive with a solid 28-6 victory, effectively bringing an end to the Bulldogs' season at Telstra Stadium today.

The Panthers opened the scoring in the eighth minute before crossing two more times to lead 16-0 after 23 minutes.

The Bulldogs scored their only try just before the break and at half time, Penrith held a 16-6 lead.

Tension followed and the Bulldogs were still in the match. But another try to the Panthers in the 50th minute saw the score sail out to 22-6.

Penrith scored again late in the match with centre Paul Franze posting a hat trick of tries.

Bulldogs v Panthers match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game

Scorers: CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 6 Tries: Anasta Goals: Young 1/1 PENRITH PANTHERS 28 Tries: Franze 3, Gower 2 Goals: Campbell 4/5

Telstra Stadium Referee: Jason Robinson Half time: Panthers 16-6

Live commentary: Today sees the Canterbury Bulldogs play host to the Penrith Panthers at Telstra Stadium in Stdney. A sunny day with little wind to speak of today, and with last night's loss to Manly, the winner of today's clash will keep their slim chances of playing finals this season alive, and the loser will be finished for 2005.

Changes: Bulldogs In: Daniel Irvine Out: Adam Perry

Panthers As-per-program

0 min: KICKOFF!, match underway at Telstra

5 min: NEWS-Scrappy start from both sides with ball-handling at a very low quality.

8 min: TRY-Panthers Craig Gower charges through some weak Bulldogs defence to score under the posts. Conversion successful from Preston Campbell. Panthers 6-0

16 min: TRY-Panthers Paul Franze crosses out wide following a break from Frank Pritchard, the Dogs have already had a few opportunities to score but cannot seem to execute anything at the moment. Conversion attempt is unsuccessful from Campbell. Panthers 10-0

NEWS-The Bulldogs are having another shocker today with mistakes frequent in their game yet again.

23 min: TRY-Panthers Luke Priddis has exposed yet another weakness in the Bulldogs' game, cutting the marker defence to shreads and setting up Gower for another try under the sticks. Campbell's conversion is successful. Panthers 16-0

35 min: TRY-Bulldogs The Bulldogs have finally decided to start playing and Braith Anasta burrows his way over the line after a good run from Jamaal Lolesi. Conversion is successful from Luke Young. Panthers 16-6

HALF TIME-The Bulldogs are lucky to only be behind by 10 at the break, after only applying themselves for the last 5 minutes after the Anasta try. The Panthers should have capitalised more on the Bulldogs lacklustre effort, but still hold the ascendancy with a 16-6 lead at halftime.

Second half underway at Telstra Stadium

49 min: NEWS-This game is alive now with both teams realising their season is on the line. Still 16-6 in favour of the Panthers.

50 min: TRY-Panthers Another try to Paul Franze after a penalty was awarded against Corey Hughes for taking out a Panthers player. Conversion successful from Campbell. Panthers 22-6

57 min: NEWS-The crowd have come into the game and are desperate for the Dogs to get home, it could be too late though. Still 22-6 the Panthers lead.

61 min: NEWS-Bulldogs Halfback Corey Hughes is having a shocker this afternoon, giving away a number of penalties and having a running battle with referee Jason Robinson.

67 min: NO TRY-Video referee rules that Tony Grimaldi knocked the ball forward whilst attempting a 1 on 1 strip. The Dogs look gone now for 2005.

69 min: NEWS-Matt Utai injured. This sums up the Bulldogs season with yet another high profile player sustaining an injury, it appears to be an ankle problem for the Kiwi winger.

75 min: NEWS-The Bulldogs have put in a better effort today but just cannot structure their attack when opportunities arise. The Panthers have defended well throughout today's game.

77 min: TRY-Panthers Paul Franze crosses out wide for his third try of the afternoon to cap off and excellent day for the Penrith centre. Conversion successful from the sideline from Campbell. Panthers 28-6

FULL TIME: The Panthers have kept their slim finals hopes alive with a 28-6 win today at Telstra Stadium. ----------------------------------------- players of the match: 3 - P Franze (Panthers) 2 - L Priddis (Panthers) 1 - B Anasta (Bulldogs) -----------------------------------------