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Bears Fall To Panthers In Season Opener

The North Sydney Bears fell to the Penrith Panthers 20-6 in their first game of the Canterbury Cup season.

While the Panthers had plenty of possession in the early going, the Bears goal-line defence was outstanding.

They looked certain to be breached at around the eight minute mark, only for an excellent defensive play from the left edge to take Jed Cartwright into touch and save a certain try.

The Bears eventually broke though after Pat Hollis stormed his way over from close range on the left edge to open the scoring for the Panthers.

After a number of unsuccessful opportunities on the Bears goal, the 30th minute would see a return serve.

On the back of a nifty left edge play, Christian Tuipulotu found some space to sprint his way down the touch line and plant it down in the corner to level the scores.

It turned into a back-and-forth affair after the Panthers hit back with a long range effort between the uprights to take a 6-12 lead over the Bears heading into the sheds at the break.

A penalty in front of the uprights early in the second half would see the Panthers extend their lead to eight in the final half hour of the match.

John Faimu extended the lead after picking up a loose grubber and storming over on the right edge, making it a difficult task for the Bears to fight their way back into it.

Sione Hopoate went over for the Bears in the final fifteen minutes, only to be denied by the touch judge for stepping out of bounds.