ETHAN Cook can't remember the last time he slotted a field goal.
The Central captain reckons it might've even been back in juniors.
But the 28-year-old refrigeration and air conditioning apprentice said the main thing was - it counted.
"It wasn't the prettiest, but it went through the posts and that's all that matters," Cook told the Newcastle Herald.
Cook split a deadlock on Sunday, making it 13-12 in favour of the Butcher Boys over Kurri Kurri late in the crucial last-round clash.
The one pointer, kicked from around 20 metres out and in front of the uprights, not only ended the Bulldogs' season but ensured Central remained in third spot and now receive a second bite at the cherry during the Newcastle Rugby League finals series.
"There was a bit of pressure on [for both sides] after Saturday," he said.
"If we got beat by around 30 then we could have missed out all together. And a draw might have meant we were back against Kurri, but at Kurri, which is where we got knocked out last year.
"So getting the win and getting third all worked out alright, but now it starts again."
Central arrive at the play-offs brimming with confidence, having strung together five straight wins and a draw before that to rocket up the ladder. They were sitting last a little over a month ago.
"I think it just finally clicked for us," Cook said.
"The young kids have really stepped up. They've been unbelievable."
The Butcher Boys once again meet Souths at the same stage of the campaign as last year, but at Townson Oval rather than Charlestown.
However, Cook said the complexion of his squad has completely changed this time around.
"It was the same game, second versus third, but it's a completely different feel," he said.
"Last year we probably had a few bigger name players who had been around and done it before, but there wasn't the same belief or camaraderie. It's been awesome."
Another shift for Cook during that 12 months has been playing position, now lining up at five-eighth rather than second-row or lock and forming a combination with halfback Brad Murray.
"I've played there a fair bit in my career so it's been good," Cook said.
"We didn't really have a five-eighth so I was happy to do it. And with Brad there he organises and kicks so I can play my natural game."