BATHURST Bulldogs have been getting themselves into a habit of going back-and-forth against teams this Blowes Cup season but that certainly wasn't the case in Saturday's convincing success at home versus Orange City.
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Bulldogs gave the Lions virtually no breathing room over a high quality opening half of football to run out to a 24-0 advantage at half-time and carried that momentum into the second term to run out 43-5 victors at home.
For Bulldogs coach Dean Oxley the superb start was the big talking point out of the game - something he's been craving to see from his team since the opening round.
"In the last four rounds we've had to come from behind in most games and then had to come from behind to try and win. This time we got out to 24-0 at half-time," he said.
"While we had to grind out the initial minutes we didn't hand over possession and we defended quite well. We respected our line and had a great first half, which set up our victory.
"To Orange City's credit they're quite a strong team. It's a strong competition and there's very positive signs around the rebuilding of the team. There's some impressive footballers there so were we certainly up against it at various times."
Oxley makes no secret of the Bulldogs' desire to move the ball towards the edge a little quicker than other teams, although at times that approach has led to errors.
That wasn't the case in Saturday's clash as a much tidier Bulldogs side in attack put the sword to the visitors.
"I was very happy. There's been a few things that we've needed to tidy up and we're starting to head in that direction. We like playing expansive football, which everybody's aware of, but we've been a bit liberal with our movement of the ball, which has led to turnovers," Oxley said.
"That's gifted points and possession far too easily but we improved a lot in that area in this game. That was a focus for our, not only to respect the opposition but to retain possession, and I was very happy in that area."
While it was an impressive team performance Oxley said several players put their hands up to lead the way.
"Tom Felsch had an outstanding game and received player's player. Peter Fitzsimmons played another outstanding captain's role," he said.
"Tom's been working hard on his game since the beginning of the pre-season and in this game we got a wonderful indication of his improvement, and his colleagues really got around him.
"Kurt Weekes demonstrated some additional areas of his game. His physicality and contact has improved."
The win keeps Bulldogs in second place in the Blowes Cup ladder with 20 points, now with a six point buffer over the Dubbo Kangaroos, while the undefeated Cowra Eagles reign on top with 24 points.
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