BELIEF has never been an issue for the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs.
It has merely been a case of nailing down their execution.
The Bulldogs were at their clinical best in disposing of Maitland 39-12 in the Newcastle Rugby League elimination final at Maitland Sportsground on Saturday.
Centre Ngangarra Barker opened the scoring in the second minute. The lead ballooned to 18-4 at half-time and they went on with the job in the second half.
“Our execution was probably the best it has been this season,” coach Ron Griffiths said. “In terms of effort, that is what we have been able to come up with for most stages of the year. It came together for us from an execution point of view.”
The win was the Bulldogs’ fifth straight and sounded an ominous warning.
“We have always had a strong belief,” Griffiths said. “When we started back in November last year we worked hard on who we are as a unit and always believed in what we were about. We started the year really fit and then went through a little lull where other teams started to find their rhythm. We didn’t go away from what works we just didn’t do it as well. To win five in a row at this time of year is a massive shot in the arm for us.”
Hooker Tom McKenzie and halfback Jarom Haines were outstanding for the Bulldogs.
“Everyone was good but those two were exceptional,” Griffiths said. “We picked them apart through the middle which is one of their strengths.”
However victory came at a cost with fullback Kade Hardy suffering a season-ending dislocated right ankle.
“Kade has been our most consistent outside back all year and will be sorely missed,” Griffiths said. “Our thoughts go out to him.”
The loss sounded full-time on the playing careers of Pickers dup Luke Dorn and Dane Tilse.
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