THEY stormed into the Blowes Clothing Cup finals with a 13-try performance, but Bathurst Bulldogs coach Dean Oxley believes his team needs to play even better if they are to win the premiership.
Bulldogs finished the regular season in second place on the ladder, its 77-7 win over Orange City last Saturday being victory number 11.
That performance highlighted many of the qualities that Bulldogs hopefuls feel can take the club to its first top grade premiership since 2010.
Bulldogs constantly drove the Lions back in scrums, found space on the edges with their fleet-footed back line and dominated at the breakdown.
Still, Oxley felt his side at times strayed from the team focus he wants his men to have.
“It was just disappointed with a couple of the options that we took when we were not respecting the opposition or getting away from our structure, they’re the two things that can sort of happen when you have space you don’t normally have,” he said.
“Thinking of yourself and what you can achieve is the last thing I want them to do, I want to focus on our team goals.”
When it comes to team goals, Bulldogs have already ticked one box for Oxley in qualifying for the finals.
But Oxley now wants to go on and win the premiership – which means beating minor premiers Orange Emus at Endeavour Oval.
When playing there earlier this season in round 12, the Bathurst side fell just short, losing 26-25.
To be able to get that win, the coach feels Bulldogs must further lift the standard of their rugby.
“One of my goals this year was to beat Emus at Emus and we haven't done that yet, so I'm really looking forward to the semi,” Oxley said.
"The boys have to play better football. Emus are a very seasoned team, they're very experienced. We've got a very young side, so our boys have to believe in what they are doing and really lift a notch.
“But I'm confident they can do that, I'm very confident we can win this competition, but it will take a very good side to win it.
“We've got Cowra, Forbes, Bathurst and Emus left and any one of those sides can win the comp.”
The Blowes Clothing Cup will have a bye this weekend before the finals series commences. Emus will host Bulldogs in the major semi-final on August 11 while Cowra and Forbes fight for survival in the minor semi-final on August 12.
Bulldogs’ second and third grade sides will also contest major semi-finals after taking out their respective minor premierships.