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The Bulldogs were overcome by a strong Dragons outfit today at Commbank Stadium, going down 40-18 in the NSWRL SG Ball Cup Grand Final.

There was little separating the two sides heading into the Grand Final, with minimal points difference earned during the regular season. White it could have been anyone’s game on paper, it was the Dragons who dominated the field today to clutch the win and hoist the Cup for the first time in 32 years for their club.

As Bulldogs Captain Stephen Crichton, Bailey Hayward and Josh Reynolds watched on, it was the blue and white who first opened the scoring. Hamish Wilson crossed the line to take an early lead, but it wasn’t long before the red and white returned serve with Dragons’ winger Zachariah Nachar levelling the score. Moments later, prop Ryan Hutchison crossed for the Dragons second.

From there on out, it became the Dragons game as they continued to dominate the first half in both possession and points, adding four more unanswered tries.

Trailing 26-4 at halftime and needing a big second half to stay in contention for the trophy, the Bulldogs SG Ball squad weren’t shy of some support to try and get them there. Coach Steve ‘Zap’ Turner was joined by Bulldogs Head Coach Cameron Ciraldo, NRL assistant coaches Luke Vella and Chad Randall, and club legends and NSW Cup and Jersey Flegg coaches, Mick Potter and Josh Jackson in the sheds.

General Manager of Football, Phil Gould and General Manager of Pathways, Adam Hartigan were also in attendance while Club legends and transition coaches Willie Mason and Mark O'Meley were on hand to rev the boys up from the sideline.

Despite the star-studded support crew and a gusty second-half effort, the Bulldogs were unable to swing the momentum back in their favour.

An early break down the wing showed some promise straight off the second-half kick-off but the Bulldogs lost possession and the Dragons picked up right where they left off, securing another try to Zacariah Nachar and taking the score to 36-4.

Ratu Rinakama returned to the field in the 44th minute, adding another try for the Bulldogs just two and a half minutes later on the left edge.

The Dragons swiftly responded with another try of their own to centre David Afu, keeping the Bulldogs well out of reach from clawing back the score line.

Try for try continued with Bulldogs second row Sosaia Alatini adding four more points for the Bulldogs in the 59th minute and Alex Conti converting. In a full display of the Bulldogs' resilience, they never gave up, fighting all the way until the final whistle with Sosaia Kaufusi scoring right on the buzzer.

With a final scoreline of 40-18, the Bulldogs had to settle as the competition runners-up.

Coach, Steve Turner said that while the grand final loss hurt, it didn’t reflect the young Bulldogs' sides potential, with many of the young squad due to back up again next year while others would be elevated to train on with the senior squads from here on out:

"For me, it's more about the season and seeing the improvement out of the kids.

"The outset has always been about the development of these kids and seeing them transition into the next program whether it's Flegg, NSW Cup or the likes. Hopefully, I've played a small part in that and I am sure we will see some of these boys Flegg this year."

He reflected on sitting down with General Manager of Football Phil Gould at the start of the season and said the goal was always to "teach them how to train and teach them how to play."

From a rocky start to the season to making the Grand Final, there's certainly no doubting the squad's improvement.

"That's what I'm super proud of," said Turner.

"We've seen some boys improve out of sight. It's also a credit to the halfback (Mitchell Woods) who gets player of the whole tournament. You know, I've seen so many improvements in some of these players and yes, this one is going to hurt.

"But in the end, it's about getting them ready for the next stage of their careers and hopefully not only myself but the whole coaching staff and the program has played a small part in getting these boys ready."

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.