Panthers coach Ivan Cleary welcomed the club's next biggest challenge of the season - State of Origin - after the side recorded their 12th straight win on Saturday.
Several Panthers players will find out their Origin fate over the next 24 hours after the side overcame a gritty Bulldogs outfit in the first half to run out 30-4 winners at BlueBet Stadium.
Tryscoring flyer Charlie Staines crossed for a double but it was Blues hopefuls Stephen Crichton and Brian To'o who made a last-ditch statement to NSW coach Brad Fittler.
Crichton (314 metres) and To'o (252 metres) were among the best for the Panthers, while Matt Burton crossed late to give the Bulldogs faithful another look at their future playmaker.
The trio combined in the 76th minute to score one of the tries of the season over 80 metres for Crichton to seal the win.
Match: Panthers v Bulldogs
Round 12 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
Along with Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai, the quartet has been mentioned as possible contenders for Origin spots this season with Fittler to announce his squad on Sunday evening.
More mindful of what sort of impact the series opener will have on his own squad, who face the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt on Friday night, Cleary indicated the club was entering into new territory after their 12-0 start to the season.
"We all sit there and pray to get as many of our guys in because it would be fantastic for them as a club," Cleary said.
"But next week will be a challenge. The next period will be a challenge, a new challenge for us, so [we're] excited."
Cleary believes 'ever consistent' Luai has done enough to earn Blues five-eighth spot
After putting the Rabbitohs to the sword in a 56-12 thrashing last week, many tipped the Panthers to do the same against the bottom-place Bulldogs.
However, the Belmore outfit made a fist of things early before the Panthers clicked into gear in the second half after a flat showing in the first.
"It was 4-0 for a long time, they did a good job defensively and we had a bit of trouble trying to generate some momentum throughout the day," Cleary said.
"We've had a few games like that. Sometimes it can lead to frustration and you push things too much.
"I don't think we did that. We had to adjust a few things at half-time.
"I was happy with the way we just stuck at it and defensively it was a pretty good day.
"On a day like today, it was an opportunity for distraction [with Origin] but we handled it really well."
Premium Panthers produce an amazing try through Crichton
The Panthers took advantage of some ill-discipline from former player Jack Hetherington early with Nathan Cleary and Paul Momirovski combining to send Staines over in the third minute.
From there the Panthers piled on five more tries before the Bulldogs managed to jag one back through Aaron Schoupp before the siren.
In the only concern for the Panthers and NSW, co-captain Isaah Yeo was placed on report for a dangerous tackle.
In better news, the Panthers are hopeful of welcoming back Dylan Edwards from a hamstring injury for Friday night's battle with the Wests Tigers.
Meaney holds a ball up for Schoupp to get his first NRL try