A strong second half performance has seen the Penrith Panthers defeat the Canterbury Bulldogs 25-14 to record their seventh SG Ball Cup premiership.
Undefeated in the regular season, Penrith opened the scoring in the first minute through winger Zachary Cini.
The Bulldogs would hit back nine minutes later through their winger Logen Dillon and a try each from both sides would lock the scores at 10-all.
With seven minutes until the break, Bulldogs’ fullback Tyrone Harding would cross to give his side an unlikely 14-10 lead.
It would be the last points the Bulldogs would add as they were kept scoreless by the Panthers’ in the second half.
A try to captain Shawn Blore gave Penrith the lead before fullback Charlie Staines extended it with 20 minutes to play.
Things would get worse for Canterbury, with Dillon being sent off for an alleged eye gouge in the 57th minutes.
Panthers’ halfback Hayden Bonnano would seal the win in the 69th minute with a field goal to give his side an unassailable 11-point lead.
The premiership was Penrith’s seventh in the competition and their second in three seasons after taking out the 2016 competition.
Newcastle Knights’ five-eighth Jock Madden was named Player of the Year following the match.
Penrith will now play Queensland’s under-18 premiers, the Souths Logan Magpies, in the National Final at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium on Saturday, May 12.
Penrith Panthers 25 (Shawn Blore, Zachary Cini, Ethan Clark-Wood, Charlie Staines tries; Stephen Crichton 3, Matt Burton goals; Hayden Bonnano field goal) def. Canterbury Bulldogs 14 (Jake Averillo, Logen Dillon, Tyrone Harding tries; Jake Averillo goal) at Leichhardt Oval.