Jamie Soward

The pressure was on him, there were Bulldogs and Penrith fans watching closely and cheering or booing, willing the ball on to miss or go over – and when push came to shove, Penrith Panthers fullback Matt Moylan was as cool as a cucumber and slotted a sideline conversion.

What did that sideline conversion mean? Well, it won the Penrith Panthers the game, in what was a close and tense affair between the two sides.

A game rife with errors, penalties and everything else in between, it was a win that gave the Panthers consecutive home wins to open the season for the first time in 14 years.

For all of the sloppy play and errors galore, there was some scintillating play, as Josh Reynolds tried his best to get the Bulldogs back into the game and he did – they took the lead at one stage – but it was not enough, as Moylan’s cool head prevailed.

There was one downside for Penrith, though, with lock Adam Docker put on report for a lifting tackle.

As for the man of the hour – Matt Moylan – he had confidence in himself that he would kick and did not know that his captain was preparing for golden point.

“I didn’t know that,” Moylan beamed after the game. “I was backing myself in to kick it. I didn’t think we were going to golden point.

“When you’re young, you always want to kick one of them goals. It just happened I got the chance, I had to think same as every other kick: ‘Just kick it well’.

“And it went over.”

As for the Dogs, coach Des Hasler put the loss down to one primary aspect – the penalty count.

Hasler felt that the penalty count was unfair but he did credit the Panthers for controlling the ruck.

“Not shattered, frustrated is a better word I think. First half, to their credit, I thought they laid all over us. They really milked the ruck, yet we couldn’t buy a penalty,” said Hasler.

“Penalty count finished up at 5-1 at halftime. All we did was come off our own line. We had no field position, no possession… some really fundamental errors [and] maybe the conditions at 4:30pm, might’ve added to that.”

With conditions not at their best, the Panthers made full use of it all early on and Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis was quick to admit that.

“Both sides had to play in it, they probably just handled it better,” he said.

“It was definitely humid out there, but that’s what happens at this time of the year. As Des said, they beat us to the punch in the ruck.”

3. Jamie Soward
2. Josh Reynolds
1. David Simmons

By ricky

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