THERE'S no doubting Bathurst Bulldogs' success in Saturday's Blowes Cup grand final against the Orange Emus came on the back of a brilliant team effort but some players saved one their best performances for the biggest day of the season.
One of those was Bulldogs number 8 Sione Naufahu.
Big metres, great support play and equally impressive defence were all on display from Naufahu in the team's comprehensive 57-27 victory over the Emus.
He came away from the grand final with two tries, scoring the first by reaching out across the line at the half hour mark and finding the second try when finishing off a great run down the left wing from teammate Daniel Woods.
Naufahu had spent most of the season at flanker but only recently in the final regular season match against the Cowra Eagles did he find a role with the eight on his back.
The spot at the back of the scrum has suited Naufahu perfectly.
He showed dangerous burst from the position in the decider and was a constant threat off the back of any rolling mauls Bulldogs produced.
"This is what we all planned for at the start of the year and we had to put everything on the line," he said.
"Credit first of all to my lord and savour Jesus Christ and second to all the boys that fought through the sweat and tears throughout the whole season.
"I didn't play most of the year, a lot of the work was done by the other boys because I did my hamstring and had a few other niggles. A huge thanks goes to everyone that got involved."
The only blemish on Naufahu's game was his yellow card in the lead up to half-time.
Just a few minutes after scoring his first try of the game Naufahu collected Emus fullback Kyle Hanns with his foot while trying to kick the ball off the deck.
He said the strong support from his teammates made watching from the sidelines an easier task.
"It feels unreal. I knew the boys had it in them, even if I was off for 30 to 40 minutes, I knew the boys would dig in and stay in the game," he said.
"They've put in that work throughout the whole season and have made a lot of sacrifices. Everyone has families and their own priorities.
"Those two tries weren't just me. They came from the forward pack in front of me. Can't give credit just to them though - the backs will hate me - but it was such a great team effort.
"We didn't turn up today as individuals, we turned up as a team."
Naufahu came across to the Bulldogs in 2021 after helping St Pat's claim an under 21s Western Rugby League premiership and didn't take long to carve his way into a first grade role with his new club.