BATHURST Panthers have continued their run of positive football in the lead up to the Group 10 finals with a 48-18 win over Blayney Bears at King George VI Oval on Sunday.
Panthers rocketed out to a 22-0 lead in as many minutes before the visitors began to cough up the ball on multiple occasions.
Luckily for Panthers the Bears were only able to pick up a sole converted try before the half-time break.
Bathurst got their game together in the second half to run away with the contest and claim their 11th win from 13 matches.
Panthers manager Danny Dwyer said the Bathurst men did well do regain their composure after a shaky end to the opening half.
“We completed five of our opening six sets and that allowed us to get those early points on them. After that though we started to fall apart and ended up finishing with only 12 from 20 for the opening half,” he said.
“That was far from ideal and we spoke about that at half-time. The boys learned from that and by the end of the game we finished up with 25 from 38 completions. We really strung it together in the second half.”
Joey Bugg, Kade Barrow and Jye Barrow all managed to score two tries for the visiting Panthers.
Jye Barrow hit home six conversions to finish with a personal tally of 20 points.
“I thought Joey Bugg had a great game for us,” Dwyer said.
“He scored twice, looked dangerous every time he had the ball and I believe he finished the game with four try assists.”
Dwyer attributed the second half turnaround to a less risky, and more central, style of play from the Panthers.
“When played direct and hard up the middle that’s when things started to improve for us,” he said.
“We were going wide too early on a lot of occasions and that’s why we were making a lot of those early mistakes.
“All but two of our tries came from our backs. That was when we were shifting the ball wide at the right moments.”
Sunday’s success adds to the Panthers’ 44-10 triumph over the Bears earlier this season.
Two more wins for the Panthers from their remaining three matches will lock in a top two finish.
Panthers remain two points adrift of ladder leaders Orange CYMS, who won their derby clash against Hawks on Sunday.