Win the season opener. Knock off the traditional rivals away. Then do it all again to make it three from three.
It has been the ideal start for the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs in 2018. Going from wooden spooners to top of the table in the Newcastle Rugby League competition.
Now, they depart the Coalfields for the first time this year ready to tackle Central at St John Oval on Sunday, and coach Ron Griffiths knows it will be another test for his emerging squad.
“From what I’ve seen so far every game we play will be tough, but I’ve had a look at their side and Central are very experienced across the park,” Griffiths said.
“They have guys who have played 10 years in Newcastle, and some at NRL level. So when the time comes they know how to get the job done and they proved that against Maitland on the weekend.”
One of those individuals is Central hooker and player-of-the-year leader Terence Seu Seu, who will be up against the club he parted ways with towards the end of last season.
“Terence is a Kurri junior so I’m sure he’ll want to get one over us and no doubt our guys feel the same way,” Griffiths said.
This week the Bulldogs had four players named in the Newcastle Rebels’ representative squads – Mitch Cullen and Ben Wyborn in the senior team plus Reid Alchin and Jordan Mitchell in the development side.
“It’s a good reward for them,” Griffiths said.
The mentor feels “working hard for each other” has been the key to Kurri’s triumphs over South Newcastle (16-10), Cessnock (28-12) and Lakes (24-12).
Elsewhere on Sunday and over at Townson Oval winless Souths host Western Suburbs, who are without winger Willis Alatini but welcome back Warren Schillings on the bench.
In Saturday’s fourth-round fixtures and undefeated Macquarie have promoted halfback Kye Hopwood and winger Nick Worthington to replace injured duo Andy Sumner and Kyle Eather against Maitland at Lyall Peacock Field while Lakes coach Todd Edwards, for the first time since joining the Seagulls, will come up against former club the Goannas at Cessnock Sportsground.
Kick-off is 3:30pm.
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