Canterbury’s Dallin Watene-Zelezniak could face the wrath of the NRL’s match review committee after his swinging arm tackle ended Nathan Cleary’s day in Saturday’s 28-0 loss to Penrith.
The Panthers captain made a break through the centre of the field but was left prone after the Bulldogs winger threw out an arm to stop him, catching his former teammate Cleary around the head.
Watene-Zelezniak was sent to the sin-bin and the incident put on report in the 71st minute as the Panthers finished off their historic win without their star halfback.
In terrible conditions at Bankwest Stadium, the Panthers became the first team in rugby league history to go the first two rounds of a season without conceding a point.
It comes after beating North Queensland 24-0 in round one, posting an incredible 52 unanswered points from the opening two games.
Torrential rain across Sydney put a literal dampener on Penrith’s usual electric attack but brought out their clinical discipline as Viliame Kikau and Paul Momirovski scored doubles for the win.
Groundskeepers did their best to keep the markings fresh but minutes into the first half the lines were already washed away, leaving puddles where the paint was.
Livewire five-eighth Jarome Luai had just two runs in the first half but both resulted in tries for the Panthers, also setting up Kikau for his double midway through the second half.
Luai’s dance across the defensive line and grubber for Tyrone May to score before halftime showed some crafty attack despite the miserable conditions.
Two late tries to Momirovski, while the Bulldogs were down to 12 players, sealed the win, which was made more remarkable without regular hooker Api Koroisau.
The Fiji international was ruled out for at least six weeks earlier on Saturday after undergoing surgery for a broken wrist.
The Panthers’ hot start to the season will be put to the test on Thursday night when they host the premiers Melbourne in the grand final rematch at Panthers Stadium.
Meanwhile, new Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett is still searching for his first win at the club and will travel to play Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.