THEY'VE been the dominant team all year and they knew how to turn up on the day that mattered most.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The Bathurst Bulldogs second grade side completed a brilliant 2022 Blowes Cup campaign by bringing down the Dubbo Kangaroos 25-10 in a comeback effort in front of their home crowd at Ashwood Park.
After watching their women's and third grade teams come up short in their grand final bids the second grade squad gave the home supporters plenty to cheer about with their strong performance across the park.
The hosts found themselves down by seven points at the break but with the wind at their backs for the remainder of the game they were able to work their way into the contest.
Bulldogs coach Adam Dwyer said his side still felt in control of the situation despite being behind at half-time.
"They had the wind in the first half. We were pretty lucky to get away with being down only 10-3 and I was pretty confident that once we had the breeze behind us we'd be able to do a lot better," he said.
"We've played really well all year. We lost our only game of the year up at Dubbo, where most of us also played third grade, but other than that we were excellent.
"We have some pretty experienced fellas in this team and a few older blokes, like Scott Johnston and Phil Tokin who have played a hundred first grade games, so we're pretty lucky to have them. There's a great group of younger blokes coming through as well."
Kangaroos coach Jason Coyle was proud of the way his team battled through a gruelling finals campaign to reach the decider at Bathurst.
"It's been a hard three to four weeks coming through to this game from third place. After elimination semis we had a few damaged bodies who were still able to get us through this game," he said.
"They did wear us down. It was definitely a game of two halves. We were hoping to win the toss and drag the breeze with us but we didn't get it."
The match was end-to-end in its early stages before a penalty to Dubbo in the 12th minute allowed Dayne Hawke to kick for three points right in front of goal.
Bulldogs' Josh Weekes soon had a penalty chance of his own but a wind gust pushed the ball wide of the mark when it looked certain to sail between the posts.
On his second opportunity, less than two minutes later, he levelled the scores.
However, the Roos struck immediately from the kick off when Chris Sellings crossed for the first try of the match, with Hawke adding the extras.
Dubbo lost Mitch Smith to a yellow card nine minutes out from half-time but still enjoyed more of the possession in the run towards the break.
They weren't able to extend their lead, and once Bathurst returned to the field with the wind at their backs it took them just three minutes to get their first try.
Phil Tokin barged across from close range to score between the uprights, and Weekes' conversion levelled proceedings.
Bulldogs winger Joe Kermode then made a big run out of his own half to almost set up a try, though Dubbo crucially blocked his pass attempt to a teammate close to the try line.
That run started what would be a 10 minute period of dominance from the Bulldogs, where they rarely let the Roos escape their own 22m area.
The spirited defensive effort from the Roos was eventually broken down with 14 minutes to go when Ollie Newton scored.
Ryan Harper then found his way across the try line to help the Bulldogs seal the deal.
A penalty to Weekes helped the Bulldogs take more time off the clock with three minutes remaining.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.