Panthers defeat Bulldogs, Kyle Flanagan, Treant Barrett on media pressure

Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett believes under-fire halfback Kyle Flanagan “will gain a lot of confidence” from his performance in Canterbury’s 32-12 loss to Penrith on Sunday.

Prior to the match, the Bulldogs had come under scrutiny from some figures in the media because Flanagan, who had been axed from the team last season, was named to return against the best team in the league, with suggestions the move was a “disgrace” from a club that “humiliated” the 23-year-old.

While it was a tough night out for every player in Canterbury’s squad on Sunday, Flanagan produced a memorable moment when a high ball proved too much for Penrith’s Jarome Luai, who dropped a routine catch which led to the Bulldogs’ first try.

ULTIMATE GUIDE: Everything you need to know about the 2022 Masters

READ MORE: Tiger Woods humbled at Masters

READ MORE: Meltdown eats Kyrgios in bizarre umpire clash

Barrett lauded Flanagan’s return and made it known his side’s struggles against the Panthers were not due to the playmaker’s performance.

“I thought he was really good,” Barrett said.

“I thought the chances and the opportunities we did have down there on their try line, we looked organised.

“He will gain a lot of confidence out of that.

“He will probably say he wasn’t, but he would’ve probably not been that happy with the attention he got.

“I thought he handled it really well. I thought he did well.

“Our issues were at the back of the field, rather than the other end.”

Flanagan also found support from his opposite halfback, Panthers No.7 Nathan Cleary.

“I thought he did a really good job,” Cleary said.

“It’s hard when there’s constant media scrutiny around… but the more you block it out and focus on what you need to do, that’s the most important thing.

“I thought he was pretty solid and did what he needed to do.”

The Panthers maintained their unbeaten start to the season in their fifth-round thumping.

The reigning premiers kick-started the match with consecutive tries in the opening 15 minutes, before accounting for the Bulldogs with ease over the remainder of the game.

The Bulldogs, who now sit on one win through five rounds, found a way to cut into an early deficit, but their efforts were short-lived.

After Canterbury reduced the deficit to eight points at the 32nd-minute mark, it took Penrith just five minutes to stretch its lead out to three tries.

Flare, protester forces game stoppage

A 72 per cent completion rate, as well as 16 errors, left the Bulldogs with few attacking opportunities.

It was extra difficult for fullback Matt Dufty, who struggled under the high ball and finished the match with four errors to his name.

The win keeps the Panthers on top of the NRL ladder.

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.