Yeo, Leota on report as Panthers rout Dogs

·3-min read

Penrith have overcome a slow start - perhaps distracted by Sunday's eagerly-awaited State of Origin selection announcement - to hammer Canterbury 30-4 and extend their unbeaten start to the season by a remarkable 12 games.

Only hours away from the announcement of the NSW team for Origin I, up to nine Panthers were expected to enhance their chances and reputations in the first-versus-last clash on Saturday afternoon.

However the NRL pacesetters could only muster a 10-0 lead for almost an hour, before putting on the afterburners with four tries in the final 24 minutes.

The final try was easily the highlight of the contest, with Stephen Crichton finishing a breakaway 95-metre effort that twice involved pinpoint Matt Burton passes.

The only sour note was the citing of Isaah Yeo and Moses Leota, both of whom are in contention to be selected by Blues coach Brad Fittler on Sunday evening.

Yeo was on report for a first-half high shot on Matt Doorey while Leota was sin-binned late in the contest for collecting Jake Averillo on the jaw while on the ground.

They are joined by Nathan Cleary, Brian To'o, Jarome Luai, Api Koroisau, Liam Martin, Burton and Crichton as being in the conversation for Origin call-ups.

It was an otherwise routine rout for Ivan Cleary's side, with Charlie Staines claiming a double and usual suspects Cleary, To'o and James Fisher-Harris all performing strongly.

"I was happy the way we stuck at it. Defensively it was a pretty good day. We scored three tries directly from defence," coach Cleary said.

"On a day like today when there's opportunity for distraction, I thought we handled that well."

Penrith entered the match as one of the shortest priced favourites in recent history, but the odds might've been shorter on Jack Hetherington feeling the whip of the league's new crackdown.

Playing his first match since completing a five-game suspension for a high shot, Hetherington gave away a set restart and was twice pinged for high tackles inside the opening three minutes.

Incredibly, he wasn't put on report for either incident, however his second shot, on Viliame Kikau, is sure to come under the microscope of the match review committee.

And while their heated opening was doused by Staines' opening four-pointer, the Bulldogs continued to show plenty of fire in keeping the Panthers attack at bay.

Canterbury weren't shabby with the ball either, forcing four line dropouts, aided by a stiff southerly.

But the Panthers refused to be put off, keeping their goal line intact, before taking full advantage of an inexplicable brainsnap from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on the stroke of halftime.

The former Penrith winger was making a routine kick return when his senseless offload fell into the open arms of Spencer Leniu, giving the home side a meagre 10-0 halftime lead.

The home side had to wait until Staines claimed his second in the 56th minute to click into gear, racing in another three tries through Paul Momirovski, Burton and Crichton to complete the win.

"There's four blokes in there that can still play (Jersey) Flegg, for them to be able to do what they did ... and compete the way we did, we can take some real positives out of that," said Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett.

"But at the same time we need to learn to beat those good sides, you need to be clinical for 80 minutes. We weren't quite good enough to do it for long enough periods."

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