The Penrith Panthers have secured a semi-final standoff with the Canberra Raiders in the nation's capital next weekend after trouncing the Bulldogs, 28-12.
Matt Moylan put in a man of the match performance despite initially experiencing discomfort under Josh Reynolds' menacing high balls, before he recovered to play a hand in all of his side's five tries.
Canterbury half Moses Mbye broke through the Penrith defence as they approached the first quarter of an hour to open scoring.
The Dogs let early fatigue set in, however they were on hand to prevent the Panthers from moving out of their own half in consecutive sets. Moses Mbye raised the sticks with a penalty goal, opting to add the extra two instead of pushing for a try.
The Panthers eventually responded though, with quick passing outnumbering Canterbury's left-hand side, allowing Nathan Cleary to lob a pass to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for their first four-pointer of the afternoon, reducing the half-time scoreline to 6-4.
Des Hasler unleashed on his experienced side in the sheds at half-time but it failed to make a difference as Penrith only came out bigger and better in the second half.
Matt Moylan retrieved a kick and offloaded to Josh Mansour who beat three defenders before breaking into open space and delivering the final ball to Waqa Blake to dive over in the corner as Bulldogs fullback Brett Morris limped in his chase.
Penrith then followed that gem up with a contender for try of the season with a brilliant run-around between Moylan and Mansour creating space for Isaah Yeo to push down the left flank. Yeo then unloaded to Tyrone Peachey who evaded several would-be tacklers before finding Peter Wallace to cross under the posts for a classic finals try.
The Panthers kept rolling as Moylan achieved an assist, releasing Tyrone Peachey who dummied to his support and extended the lead to more than two converted tries. A Nathan Cleary penalty goal stretched Penrith's lead to 18 before the game was put to bed by Mansour collecting his own deserved try after sprinting 55 metres to find the left hand corner.
The Bulldogs gained some consolation though, with Sam Perrett scoring and converting his final try in the NRL after announcing his retirement from professional rugby league last month. Perrett was named on the wing after coming back from a neck injury early, allowing himself to play his farewell match if they were to be knocked out in week one.
Perrett made over 250 appearances, scoring over 90 tries in his thirteen year career where he played with the Sydney Roosters and Canterbury Bulldogs, bowing out as one of the unfortunate players to play in three deciders and lose them all.
Penrith travel to Canberra next Saturday for a do-or-die semi-final clash with Raiders star Josh Hodgson in serious doubt of playing.