Canterbury Bulldogs fullback Moses Mbye.

In an emotional contest that saw the Canterbury Bulldogs club honour the late, great, Steve Folkes, they prevailed to record their opening win of the season.

As they farewelled their favourite son, the Bulldogs first win of the season was a tight affair, as they held off a fast-finishing Penrith Panthers side to win 20-18.

That was not the main focal point, though, with boom Panthers half Nathan Cleary injuring his knee.

The enigmatic half played on with the injury after he sustained it in the 11th minute but failed to return at half-time.

Penrith coach Anthony Griffin opened up on the injury sustained by Cleary.

“We think he’s got a medial ligament problem. It happened early in the first half, around the 11th minute,” Griffin said.

“I didn’t actually see it but the doctor tells me it happened early. They checked him on the field and he wasn’t too bad. But when he came in and cooled down at halftime and they had another look at him, they pulled him.

“We’ll get a scan tomorrow and see what’s going on.”

The game itself from a playing perspective was dominated by one man – Bulldogs fullback Moses Mbye.

In what was arguably the best game of his career, he finished with two tries, two goals and three line-breaks.

It proved too much for Penrith as their right side attack was too hot for the Panthers edge defence to handle.

It was a blow for Penrith who were looking to win three straight games to start a season for the first time since 1997.

It was another ugly start for the Panthers, who conceded a try in the early stages to Mbye, his first.

It could have gotten worse had the NRL bunker not seen an obstruction but it was in vain, as Josh Morris scored an intercept try in his 200th club match.

Will Hopoate then extended the Bulldogs lead with a swift play but as they had done two weeks running, the Panthers mounted a mini-comeback.

Tries to Isaah Yeo, Dylan Edwards and Josh Mansour cut the lead to just two points but giving away a late penalty was the Achilles heel, ending their hopes.

Griffin was critical of his side for starting poorly for the third week running.

“Can’t fault our courage. When we get ourselves behind we’ve got a tremendous amount of team spirit… they play for each other and tonight without a halfback it was nearly a really good win there,” Griffin said.

“But we’ve got to fix those starts and when we do that – and we will do that – it will make it a lot easier for us.”

A surprise to everyone was the decision to start Jeremy Marshall-King in the halves but it worked.

Still young and learning, he drew praise from Bulldogs coach Dean Pay for his efforts.

”I just said to him during the week ‘your attack will look after itself; we just need you to make sure you make your tackles.’ He was really good in that area,” said Pay.

“Right from day one he had a great attitude towards his footy and his training.

”I’ve always liked the kid, he’s very coach-able. I think he’s got a bright future.”

Player of the Game:

3. Moses Mbye

2. Jeremy Marshall-King

  1. Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

By ricky

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