Dragons fans would have had their heart in their mouth, as the Bulldogs never gave in, and almost stole the game, but the Dragons just got over the line at ANZ Stadium, in front of just over 34,000 fans.
The Dragons stormed out of the blocks, as they had a 15-0 half-time lead, but the second half was a complete different story, as the team looked out of sorts, and unlike the Dragons that we are use to seeing.
Perhaps some shocks thrown up by the Dragons, were two attempted field goals by Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward, with the score at 15-10.
The Dogs never gave in, and Frank Pritchard was a key player in that surge, but the Dogs just could not reel in the deficit, as they have now lost to the top 3 sides in the NRL.
Despite it seeming that his side had been rattled by the Dogs surge, Dragons coach Wayne Bennett denied that this was the case.
“They were applying a bit of pressure to us but we weren’t rattled,” he said.
“We were holding together but it’s a fine line sometimes between pressure being applied and being rattled.”
Dragons captain Ben Hornby believes that had the Dragons kicked a field goal, that 6-point deficit for the Dogs, would have been mentally tough for them to overcome.
“Mentally it would have been (tough) for them,” he said.
“We felt six points we couldn’t lose the game and if it went to extra time we were happy with that.”
Bennett knows that his side needed the bye desperately, with some of his players playing in their fourth game in twelve days.
“We’re tired, we couldn’t have done another week, we’ve played a lot of tough footy in the last five or six weeks and we’re at the end of our run,” he said.
“We’re a team badly in need of a break.”
For Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore, it was his sides attitude that impressed him most, particularly in the second half.
“For us to go back out and roll the sleeves up and then, when we got a fair share of footy, we showed that we could trouble them,” he said.
“In the end I thought we were a touch unlucky.”
Dally M Points
3 Jamie Soward
2 Kris Keating
1 Jason Nightingale