The Bulldogs overturned a twelve point deficit to defeat the Panthers 24-12 in their Jersey Flegg trial at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday.
Two early tries to the Panthers got them off to a fast start, but poor execution and errors cost them dearly as they allowed the Bulldogs to run in four straight tries to clinch victory.
The Panthers opened the scoring in the 8th minute on their first foray in to Bulldogs territory when James Conroy capped off a sweeping move on the right edge. Issac Thompson’s conversion was on target to make it 6-0.
They soon doubled their lead in the 12th minute when Thompson managed a late offload for Jack Quinn to fall over the line. Thompson would again convert to push the score out to 12-0.
The Bulldogs hit back at the midway point of the first half when Dalton Smith poked his way through the line and carried three defenders with him to score. Morgan Harper’s sideline conversion raised the flags to bring the score back to 12-6.
The home side were soon level on the half hour mark when Sua Aiiloilo proved too strong and crashed over besides the uprights, allowing Harper a simple conversion to tie the game up at 12-all.
It got worse for the Panthers on the stroke of half-time when Ben Cartwright was sent to the sin bin for persistent fouling.
HALFTIME – Panthers 12 – 12 Bulldogs
A sloppy display from both sides following the restart saw them struggle with execution until the Bulldogs stemmed the flow on 60 minutes with a set play leading to Dan Sakisi’s try. Reuben Taylor took over kicking duties and slotted the conversion to extend their lead out to 18-12.
The Bulldogs ran in their fourth consecutive try in the 70th minute through Zac Hetherington who found a pocket of space in the Panthers line to exploit.
The visitors tried to muster a late comeback but would be denied by a disciplined Dogs defence who held on to claim a 24-12 victory.
FULLTIME – Panthers 12 – 24 Bulldogs