The Penrith Panthers have won the battle of the errors against the Bulldogs tonight ending up winners 30-4 and sending Belmore morale spiraling downward as the Dogs lick their wounds from another defeat.
In a match littered with errors by both sides. It was the Panthers who probably made less, eventually seeing them run away with the large win.
The win sees the Penrith Panthers statistics over the Bulldogs soaring, they have now beaten the Bulldogs in five of their last six meetings.
Brad Tighe bagged a double, with Lewis, Frank Pritchard and Michael Gordon also scoring four-pointers for the Panthers, while Gordon booted five from five.
For the Dogs, Matt Utai scored a consolation four-pointer.
The Bulldogs were always going to be up against it when they went into the match without New Zealand representatives Sonny Bill Williams and Ben Roberts, while fullback Luke Patten was also ruled out with a back injury.
Williams failed to back up from Friday night’s Centenary Test loss to Australia, while Roberts was ruled out of the Test with a hamstring injury.
Penrith’s Test contingent of Petero Civoniceva and Pritchard both took the field.
Lewis had provided the novelty factor of a rangy second-rower feeding the scrum early but he had soon vindicated coach Matt Elliott’s decision to shift him to No.7.
With his side up 6-0 through Tighe’s first four-pointer, Lewis shaped to kick, dummied and took off for a 40m solo effort in the 34th minute to help the Panthers to a 12-0 halftime lead.
After the tireless Civoniceva had put Pritchard over in the 55th minute to make it 18-0, former Kangaroo winger Lewis set up Gordon’s 60th minute try with a deft grubber to put the match out of reach of the Dogs.
Many of the 10,257-strong crowd began filing out at that point after witnessing one of the Bulldogs’ worst displays in recent memory.
Tighe scored his second with a 66th minute intercept and Bulldogs winger Utai crashed over in the 79th minute to prevent the whitewash.
Lewis said Elliott had given him the halfback job on Thursday.
â€œHe said he just wants me to play there, to just have a bit of direction there or just a bit of talk and he said just pretty much go out and play footy,â€ Lewis said.
â€œI’ve got a new motto about football – wherever I get put, just play.
â€œIf I get the chance to do it again I’d love to do it again and if I get put there for a while I’ll take the opportunity with two hands and just try and learn as much as I can.â€
The Bulldogs have now lost four of their last five and, despite the return of stars Reni Maitua and Hazem El Masri, coach Steve Folkes said the club had nine first-graders on the injury list.
â€œIt was a bit of a nightmare, wasn’t it?â€ Folkes said.
â€œThe club’s going through a bit of a transition period and a tough period.â€
Folkes was pleased with his side’s effort, even as their performance got uglier.
â€œThey tried really hard. The harder they tried, the worse they got,â€ he said.
â€œIf (I) was at home I probably would have turned off. We don’t want to be morbid, we’re not dead, it’s just a little sick at present.â€
The Dogs also lost rookie fullback Brent Crisp to a back injury and forward Justin Tsoulos to a shoulder problem.
Penrith’s Frank Puletua has a suspected fractured eye socket.