|Match Date||8th Jul, 2001|
|Venue||Sydney Showground Homebush|
Canterbury has moved within one-point of the premiership lead with an easy 40-14 victory against last placed Penrith with Braith Anasta scoring two tries. The Bulldogs scored two early tries in the opening ten minutes and from there was never seriously in trouble leading 24-4 at the break.
Darrell Trindall was the catalyst for the Bulldogs only two tries with perfectly timed grubber kicks into the ingoal for Luke Patten (4th) and Braith Anasta (7th) on the spot to give on the ball to score. Hazem El Masri converted both tries with the Bulldogs up 12-0.
Penrith hit back in the 18th minute when Craig Gower beat the tackle of Anasta finding support in Chris Hicks who switched it on the inside for Robbie Beckett to score near touch. Ryan Girdler continued his poor recent form with the boot missing the goal from near touch.
Dennis Scott who returned to the Bulldogs side three matches ago for Glen Hughes intercepted a Penrith pass to race 35m downfield before finding support in Trindall who scored a well deserved try to give the Bulldogs an 18-4 lead following Hazem El Masri's successful conversion.
Three minutes before halftime Nigel Vagana showed what a class player scoring a 75m try from a scrum win beating tackles from Matthew Rodwell and Scott Sattler and had too much pace for the cover defence. El Masri converted the try with the Bulldogs leading 24-4, which remained the score until halftime.
Penrith needed to score first in the second half to have any hope of forcing an unlikely comeback but that didn't occur when Scott stormed through to score a well-earned try. El Masri failed to convert with the Bulldogs leading 28-4.
Matt Adamson scored Penrith's second try in the 51st minute when he charged onto a Sattler pass 15m from the line. Girdler missed his second goal of the match to continue his poor run with the boot.
Any hope Penrith had of a miracle comeback was squashed in the 54th minute when Anasta went over for his second try. Anasta bursted onto the scene earlier in the year but the 19-year-old was starting to struggle with the weekly grind of the NRL. But a shoulder injury against the Dragons in Round 13 saw Anasta miss two matches plus another week due to the second Origin match, which proved to be a bonus in the long run with Anasta's form in recent weeks being superb. El Masri converted Anasta's 2nd try to put the Bulldogs up 34-8.
The final 25 minutes of the match disintegrated into a farce with both sides making errors and referee Shayne Hayne making even more. Chris Hicks crossed over outwide in the 70th to score the Panthers 3rd try. Girdler converted the try from right on touch to bring Penrith's score up to 14.
A recent Bulldogs try scoring sheet wouldn't be the same if El Masri wasn't on the list and he wasn't going to be denied when he swooped upon a loose Panthers pass in the 76th minute to race 65m to score. El Masri converted his own try to take the Bulldogs past the 40-point mark.
Canterbury would be happy to come away with an easy victory where they were never troubled at any stage to move into equal second with Brisbane and only one-point behind leaders Parramatta. The Bulldogs also have opened up a four-point gap on 5th placed Sydney Roosters to be firmly cemented in the top four.
Penrith tried hard but couldn't contain the Bulldogs halves and go forward. Craig Gower was easily the Panthers best and most creative player but he had little support.
In a preview for the Test match ahead, Vagana completely outplayed Girdler. They were in a complete different class in good news for the Kiwis.
When selecting a Man of the Match, I can't go past Trindall who started the damage with Anasta, Scott, Darren Britt, Steven Price and Vagana also playing strong. Britt played the full 80 minutes for the second week in a row to show just how valuable he is to the Bulldogs.
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||1||6||0||16|
|Braith Anasta||Five Eighth||2||0||0||8|
|Darrell Trindall||Half Back||1||0||0||4|
|Willie Mason||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Reardon||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Price||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|