Bulldogs v Panthers: Five key points

Moylan's five-eighth move works wonders as the Penrith Panthers string an 80-minute performance together to hand the Bulldogs their fourth-straight defeat at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Panthers string two halves together

They've struggled in recent weeks in first halves to trail at the break, however that wasn't the case against the Bulldogs after an 82 per cent completion rate delivered the side their biggest-ever victory over the Belmore side.

It was only the third time in 2017 the Panthers had a lead at the half-time break and as a result secured their fifth win of the season.

"It was just a really good 80-minute display," Griffin said.

"Obviously we defended well but our control with the ball set the game up for us."

Bulldogs' struggle in attack growing

While given limited opportunity, Des Hasler's side couldn't manage a single point in 80 minutes of football and since losing five-eighth Josh Reynolds back in Round 9, are now only averaging 10 points per game. 

The original rotation of Matt Frawley coming on late in the game for Michael Lichaa when Reynolds was fit had the Bulldogs flying, however since the loss of the influential No.6, the inability to get over the line is visible. 

It was the second time this season the Bulldogs have been kept to zero and the first time since 2008 the side were kept scoreless at ANZ Stadium.

"The fundamentals are pretty simple in the game and for two weeks in a row and throughout the season we're not managing and executing our possession well," Hasler said.

"We didn't get through our first set and our discipline is also [leaving] a lot to be desired at the moment.

"There were some really poor lapses with one-on-one defensive tackles which is unlike us."

 


Moylan needs to stay at 6

The move of Matt Moylan to five-eighth proved a masterstroke for the Panthers with the newest No.6 producing a dominant performance right from the kick-off.

Panthers coach Anthony Griffin has partnered Nathan Cleary with Te Maire Martin and Bryce Cartwright this season but the side looks strongest with Moylan in the six jersey – despite views by many he is a long-term fullback.

"I felt comfortable out there today and the guys defending around me really helped throughout the week," Moylan said post-game.

"The way our forward pack played allowed us to play that brand of footy."

Griffin indicated Moylan would remain in the halves for next week's clash with the Canberra Raiders in Bathurst.

"I thought he was great and his first play defensively set the tone for the whole day," Griffin said.

"He was great there today so I don't see any reason to change [the side]."

Mansour back with a bang

If you weren't aware Panthers winger Josh Mansour had missed the first half of the season, you could be forgiven for thinking he hadn't missed a beat after Sunday's performance against the Bulldogs.

The Australian international has endured intense physiotherapy to get back on the park after rupturing his ACL in November but made a monstrous return with 180 metres from 20 carries. 

"It was really good to see him get through 80 minutes without an injury," Griffin said.

"His rehab has been really good and is still a while away from full fitness but it was good to see him out there."

Rollercoaster week for Origin Bulldogs

After producing a strong effort against the Maroons on Wednesday night, Bulldogs duo David Klemmer and Josh Jackson came crashing back down to earth in the 38-point loss.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Jackson who came up with a couple of errors before leaving the field late in the game after the scoreline got out of reach, before Klemmer was involved in a frustrating passage of play that saw interchange hooker Craig Garvey sent to the bin for punching Panthers winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

With speculation overnight Klemmer was set to request an immediate release from the club over a pay dispute, Bulldogs coach Des Hasler denied the claims in the press conference before giving his verdict on both NSW representatives' performances. 

"There is no truth pertaining to that story," Hasler said.

"I thought they both contributed all they could."