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Hasler lauds never-say-die Dogs

“Never say never, It ain't over 'til it’s over.”

From Justin Bieber to Lenny Kravitz, Bulldogs coach Des Halser had plenty of lines to draw on after his side’s unprecedented third one-point win in a row, this week downing a valiant Rabbitohs outfit 15-14 in a Good Friday thriller.

Never before has a team won three consecutive matches in a row by the smallest margin possible but Trent Hodkinson’s 78th minute field goal gave the Bulldogs their third one-point win in as many weeks, after downing the Warriors 21-20 and the Roosters 9-8 over the previous fortnight.

Hasler was careful in his praise of what was at best a scrappy win, with the Bulldogs only completing 67 per cent of their sets and being the lesser of the two sides for all but two minutes.

“This side finds the ability to win but certainly it’s something not we’re going to get carried away with,” Hasler said.

“For us it was a bit of a scrappy affair but we’re very happy to get away against a quality side.

“Souths were down on troops and probably had a bit of an off day but this season’s still got so many twists and turns and with representative games just around the corner, in these early games getting the two points and putting some in the bank could be useful at the back end of the season.

“Never say never, It ain't over 'til it’s over.”

While Hasler was determined to keep a lid on things as his side moved to the top of the NRL ladder, skipper Michael Ennis was just pleased his coach was still standing after a third straight win that wasn’t secured until the fat lady could be seen warming up the pipes.

“I said on the field when I did an interview, ‘I’ll be happy if Des is alive when we get in there’,” joked Ennis, who struggled to find words to describe his team’s ability to keep finding wins.

“It wasn’t our most pleasing display, and Souths were missing some keys players and we were pretty scrappy.

“But I thought in the key moments in that second half especially we came up with some good plays.”

Ennis said the performances of Hodkinson and halves partner Josh Reynolds –who have kicked three match-winning field goals between them this season – were giving the Bulldogs plenty of confidence when games go down to the wire.

“It’s never an easy time (when the result is in the balance), especially against a side like Souths, but the pleasing thing was both halves wanted the football,” said Ennis.

“That combination’s really building there which is fantastic for our team.

“It’s just pleasing those two guys are just really quality people and guys I love playing with.”

The Bulldogs could find themselves in hot water again with the NRL, with interchange forward Greg Eastwood starting for teammate Dale Finucane despite being named on the bench in the official team sheet an hour before kick-off.

Finucane could also have to answer to the match review committee during the week, having placed on report twice in the first half for a crusher tackle on Rabbitohs forward Joe Picker and then a dangerous throw on Ben Lowe.

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