In the face of adversity…

It’s been a rocky road for Bulldogs centre Yileen Gordon. Back in 2005 and 2006 he was a rising star at South Sydney. Then in the last two seasons Gordon played just nine first grade games and spent the back end of last year playing for Souths’ feeder team, the North Sydney Bears.<br><br>It had been over a year since Gordon had tasted first grade when he made his Bulldogs debut last weekend in their 24-12 victory over the Sharks. Now the big, damaging centre is relieved to be back, albeit on coach Kevin Moore’s bench. <br><br>It’s just reward for a big pre-season where he shed the excess kilos many pundits thought may have held him back in the past.<br><br>“I made a big effort in the pre season to get myself in the best shape possible and be ready to make an impact this year”, said Gordon.<br><br>“Coming off the bench I see my role as bringing a bit of spark on to the field and hopefully to create a few opportunities out there. Hopefully I can even work my way into a consistent starting spot and be around at finals time.”<br><br>This week, in just his second game for the Bulldogs, Gordon takes on, Souths, the only club he has ever been a part of. Ironically, Gordon made his first grade debut against the Bulldogs back in 2005. <br><br>“I’m glad to be back in the side, I’m really happy with everything at the club and being back in first grade feels great. I hadn’t been there for a while and to have my second game for the new club against Souths, hopefully I can show what I can do.”<br><br>Both sides are flying high early in the season after disappointing performances in 2008. Souths finished last year 14th, while the Bulldogs claimed the wooden spoon. In 2009, had the Bulldogs not been stripped of two points for fielding an extra man against the Panthers in round two, Monday night’s match would be an unlikely first versus second battle. <br><br>Gordon thinks the battle may reflect both teams’ early season form and indicated the Bulldogs won’t dwell on the lost points.<br><br>“It’s a shame about the two points but that’s in the past now and we’ve moved on.<br><br>“I think it’s going to be a pretty tense game. I know most of the boys there and it’s going to be a bit strange lining up against them. Souths are a good club, they were good to play for but I’m a Bulldog now and they’ve given me a chance so I have to do my best for the club.”<br><br>Gordon knows he’s not the only new boy at the Bulldogs, with a seemingly endless list of off-season recruits. Brett Kimmorley, Bryson Goodwin, David Stagg, Ben Hannant, Josh Morris and Michael Ennis have all been regular fixtures in the side this year, but Gordon credits the ability of the old and the new to ‘gel’ under new coach Kevin Moore as the reason they are doing so well.<br><br>“The boys that have come from the Broncos have been really good for the club as have all the rest of the new players. We’ve gelled well with the guys like Luke Patten and Hazem El Masri who have been here a while and having a great coach like Kevin Moore helps.<br><br>“We all know Noddy has been a very, very good player for a long time but we also have a good pack who provide the go forward for him and Benny Roberts. That’s the most important thing because without that we could struggle.”<br><br>As for Monday night’s blockbuster and facing his former teammates, Gordon had nothing but respect, and highlights the need to stop their go forward as the key to beating South Sydney.<br><br>“I think they have improved a lot this year. I haven’t seen too many of their games but from what I have, they have controlled the ball well and moved it round the park through John Sutton and Chris Sandow, who are playing very well together.<br><br>“They have a pretty good pack with the likes of David Fa'alogo, David Kidwell, Roy Asotasi and Luke Stuart, who all work hard and give them good go forward, not to mention Issac Luke. I think if we just do our jobs out there and stop their go forward we can limit the impact of Sandow and Luke.”<br><br>“Hopefully I can get a win over the old team.”<br><br>