Panthers outclass Bulldogs to set up Raiders clash


Penrith Panthers turned on the style to defeat Canterbury Bulldogs 28-12 in Sunday's NRL Elimination Final to set up a semi-final showdown with Canberra Raiders.

The all-Sydney clash at Allianz Stadium went with the form book, with Penrith having won seven of their last eight matches ahead of the crucial contest.

Bulldogs had slumped to three straight defeats and, despite taking the lead through Moses Mbye's try, they were overrun by a classy Panthers side.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak touched down for Panthers first before the break, while tries for Waqa Blake, Peter Wallace, Tyrone Peachey and Josh Mansour took the game away from the Bulldogs.

The retiring Sam Perrett scored a late consolation for the Bulldogs in his final NRL appearance, but it is the Panthers who will continue their search for a first Premier title since 2003 in Canberra next weekend.

The Panthers' early pressure failed to yield a return in terms of points and it was the Bulldogs that scored the game's first try when Mbye's show-and-go bamboozled the hosts' defence.

Mbye missed the resulting conversion but did stretch the lead with a 24th-minute penalty, however Penrith were on the board six minutes before the break when a fine move resulted in Nathan Cleary finding Watene-Zelezniak out wide.

Cleary missed the extras, yet Penrith were in front just three minutes after the break when Mansour broke the Bulldogs' line to set up Blake for a converted score.

And it was a 10-point advantage thanks to a brilliant score 11 minutes later. Matt Moylan and Isaah Yeo combined to feed Peachey, who brilliantly held off the Bulldogs defence to play in Wallace on his inside.

Peachey then scored himself under the posts and Mansour completed a fine individual score as Penrith pulled clear, Perrett's farewell try adding respectability for the Bulldogs.