IN the Bathurst’s Bulldogs’ hall of 2018 conquests there’s a collection of memorable wins and great battles they’ve accumulated on their way to second place.
But something’s missing: A win over Dubbo Kangaroos.
Bulldogs have tasted victory against all opponents this Blowes Clothing Cup season except for the Kangaroos, but they have the chance to change that this Saturday at Ashwood Park.
Bathurst are refreshed and raring to start a seven-week run towards the finals following the long weekend general bye.
Dean Oxley said his Bulldogs need to break down a Dubbo defence that proved far too sturdy in the opening clash.
“Dubbo certainly outplayed us in that first round across all facets of the game. On their memorial day they had more enthusiasm and a greater ability to get around the park,” he said.
“They didn’t allow us to play our normal game due to their defence. The kicking game from their five-eighth [Hamish Gordon] was very good, and one of the main reasons we were kept pinned in our own half.
“Dubbo, under the control of Beau Robinson, will be exactly what we expect: A challenging prospect. They probably the side in the competition to watch at the moment.
“Hopefully we can turn the tables on Dubbo who are coming down to a very wintery day in Bathurst.”
Good times have been easy the Bulldogs to find between now and their last match against the Kangaroos.
Bulldogs have won four straight games, including a win over competition leaders Orange Emus, through their speed and big improvements in their set pieces.
This Saturday’s game will be a second against third encounter.
Bulldogs are on 29 points to the Kangaroos’ 22, and a win for Bathurst will go a long way towards securing a highly coveted top two result.
Changes have been made to the squad for the home contest but Oxley’s confident the starting lineup will click.
“Peter Fitzsimmons is away with Country this week so Alex Weal comes into the side to take his place after being out through injury since the last Dubbo game,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to having him back. He’s outstanding at the breakdown and probably one of the better footballers in the Central West competition.
“Harry Peacock comes into the forward pack. He’s been playing first grade all year, has a lot of enthusiasm and is a dynamic player, which goes well with our structure.
“Aaron Booby has his second game back since that Dubbo game and it’s great to have a strong player like him in the front row.”