The Cootamundra Bulldogs have shown signs of life in 2017 after putting in a much-improved showing against Group Nine leaders Tumut on Saturday.
The Dogs were tenacious in the opening half and only trailed the undefeated Blues by 8 points at the break before an inspired second half from the visitors stole the show at Fisher Park.
Matt Forsyth opened their Bulldogs account with a strong try midway through the first half and the gap could have narrowed further if not for some unlucky bounces in the dying stages.
However, the Blues were leading Group Nine for a reason and blasted the Dogs out of the contest with four consecutive tries before Daniel Maher and Forsyth crossed the whitewash to hand the deserving home side a respectable scoreline, 38-14.
Bulldogs coach Warren Lloyd said he was pleased with his team’s improved showing.
“The boys’ effort out there was unreal,” Lloyd said.
“We went out there and we really competed and tried our hardest against a very good Tumut side.”
“The Blues are a good side – they’ve got a good combination of fit young players with a few experienced heads and they’ll be strong at the end of the season.”
“That being said, it was very tight at halftime and we could have been a lot closer if a few balls and a few calls went our way.”
“I felt as though we were really competitive for about 50 minutes before Tumut ran away with it.”
However Lloyd lamented an ongoing string of controversial refereeing decisions that have plagued the Dogs this season.
“The majority of those calls are still going against us, but we’ll keep building week by week and work towards that win.”
“It’s a process to keep building and moving ahead.”
Lloyd said his side would use their bye week wisely and run a few tough sessions to stay sharp ahead before enjoying their club function on Saturday night.
“We’ll be running some sessions and having a few chats over the week before enjoying ourselves on Saturday night,” he said.
The Bulldogs remain at the bottom of the Group Nine ladder and will enjoy the week off to rebuild before their highly-anticipated clash with Young on Saturday May 23.
The Cherrypickers are currently sitting fifth on the Group Nine table with four wins and two losses but would be hurting after suffering a hefty 40-12 loss to Albury Thunder last weekend.
The Dogs are still searching for their opening win of the season while Young will be out to break into the top four with a home win.