Canterbury Bulldogs held off a Penrith Panthers comeback to earn their first NRL win of the season 20-18.
Canterbury opened the scoring when Moses Mbye stepped inside Dean Whare and grounded the ball despite calls for obstruction from James Maloney who was contacted by a lead runner in the build up.
It was to get better for the Bulldogs as Josh Morris, in his 200th NRL game for Canterbury, intercepted a floating Nathan Cleary pass to run the length of the field and finish under the posts. Mbye’s conversion gave the Doggies a 10-0 lead.
After a Michael Lichaa grubber from dummy half, Will Hopoate picked up the ball and spun to ground the ball for Canterbury’s third try in the opening twenty minutes.
Penrith have been 14-0 down in all three of their games this season, winning their first two. They hit back when Isaah Yeo broke down the left and found Maloney on his inside who stepped inside to run in next to the posts.
The Bulldogs regained control when Mbye marched up field from a kick return and a few tackles later, the same man bust through Josh Mansour to score an easy try. Mbye converted his own try to restore thier 14-point lead at 20-6.
The try fest continued when Maloney found Viliame Kikau who offloaded to Dylan Edwards who strolled in for Penrith to cut the deficit to eight at the break.
It took over 30 minutes for a try to be scored in the second half but it was worth waiting for as Mansour accorbatically grounded the ball in the corner for Penrith who closed the gap to two but the Bulldogs hung on.
Bulldogs: Mbye, Brett Morris, Josh Morris, Hopoate, Montoya, Marshall-King, Foran, Woods, Lichaa, Klemmer, Jackson, Faitala-Mariner, Tolman; Interchanges: Elliott, Fualalo, Brown, Tualau
Tries: Mbye 2, Josh Morris, Hopoate; Goals: Mbye 2
Panthers: Edwards, Mansour, Blake, Whare, Crichton, Maloney, Cleary, Fisher-Harris, Wallace, Campbell-Gillard, Harawira-Naera, Yeo, Merrin; Interchanges: Tamou, Kikau, Peachey, Leota
Tries: Maloney, Edwards, Mansour; Goals: Cleary 2, Maloney
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.