Panthers v Bulldogs: Five key points
It wasn't always pretty but the Panthers did enough to end Canterbury's season with a much-needed 16-8 win at Pepper Stadium.
Season over for the Dogs
They tried their best to grind out a much-needed win that would have kept their season alive, but the Bulldogs' loss means Des Hasler's men must now win their final five matches and hope the teams above them suffer a spectacular meltdown if they are to somehow finish in the top eight. You can't question the Bulldogs' grit and determination, but as has been the case throughout 2017 their lack of imagination in attack came back to bite them. Canterbury could find themselves eight points adrift of the playoff race if results go against them, and based on recent events it's almost certain they will miss the finals for the first time since 2011.
Penrith remain in the hunt
It loomed as a game that could have easily tripped them up, but the Panthers navigated their way past the desperate Bulldogs to temporarily join the eighth-placed Dragons on 24 competition points. Missing skipper Matt Moylan, Penrith weren't anywhere near their best but did enough to claim a vital win that keeps pressure on the sides above them on the ladder. With three of their next four games at home, Anthony Griffin's men loom as the only team currently outside the top eight capable of forcing their way in. Their Round 25 clash against the Dragons shapes as a regular-season elimination final.
Injuries add to Canterbury's woes
The Bulldogs suffered a double blow with Sam Kasiano (bruised sternum) and Adam Elliott (cork) unable to finish the game. New Zealand and Samoa representative Kasiano – who is set to join the Melbourne Storm next year – managed just eight minutes before he and Panthers prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard came together in a heavy tackle that left the Bulldogs big man reeling and in considerable pain when the cameras cut to him in the sheds. Elliott's injury didn't seem to be as severe but he too played no further part after limping off early in the second half.
The injury news was just as bad for the home side with Leilani Latu forced from the field in the 45th minute with a suspected broken jaw.
Dylan Edwards comes of age
He's had flashier performance but Thursday night was arguably Dylan Edwards's coming of age as an NRL fullback. The youngster has made the No.1 jersey his own since Matt Moylan's move to the halves, and anyone who doubted the former Holden Cup star's ability at the back would have been converted following a faultless showing at Pepper Stadium. Whether the Bulldogs went high or low Edwards defused every kick sent his way, often turning those takes into significant gains downfield en route to a game-high 229 running metres.
Unlikely source for try 1,000
Peter Wallace's first try since last year's qualifying final – also against the Bulldogs – was more than just your average four-pointer with the hooker's effort the 1,000th try of the 2017 NRL season. It wasn't the prettiest try you'll see this season but Wallace is sure to talk it up in the years to come when he tells his grandchildren about his role in the milestone moment.