Canterbury find that winning feeling again
Bulldogs coach Dean Pay says there were too many positives to mention after his side defeated the Newcastle Knights 36-16 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
While the home side lost key play-makers Kalyn Ponga and Slade Griffin to potentially serious injuries before the break, the Bulldogs stormed home with four tries to none in the second half, Kerrod Holland getting a double and Jeremy Marshall-King notching his first NRL try.
"It's been a long time coming for sure," Pay said.
"That game against the Gold Coast at Belmore, it wasn't us - tonight we spoke about it and prepared better.
"There was a lot of them [positives]. There was two kids there playing their first game of NRL tonight [Lachlan Lewis and Ofahiki Ogden] and they contributed at a high standard.
"We have got some young blokes. Reimis Smith played well and Will Hopoate was fantastic at fullback.
"There wasn't a bad contributor out there."
Dogs captain Josh Jackson could not put his finger on what exactly changed from the Gold Coast loss a fortnight ago but says the team definitely benefited from the week off last week.
"It wasn't anything miraculous, just being consistent in the preparation," Jackson said.
"It was a long preparation this time, we had the two weeks, and we knew what we dished up at Belmore against the Titans was not good enough. So we wanted to respond and we are glad we did today."
What was just as impressive for Pay was the way his team was able to keep their minds on the job despite losing key players Moses Mbye and Aaron Woods due to salary cap restraints.
"You say it doesn't affect you, but it probably does to some degree," Pay admitted.
"We certainly just get on with it and prepare the best we can and that's what we need to do. What we did over the past couple of weeks to prepare for this game was one of our better preparations."
While it was a tough night at the office for Newcastle playing most of the match with a reduced interchange bench, Pay says they still threw a lot at the Bulldogs.
"They had some opportunities to score tries and they fell short, and a couple of those there were only inches in it," he said.
"They threw a lot at us that's for sure, but again our blokes kept turning up and it was a fantastic effort."