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Josh Morris’s try-saving tackle on Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson late in their game in Hamilton was hailed by Bulldogs skipper Michael Ennis as the ‘play of the season’.
The Bulldogs of 2014 are a bit like power bills in winter – they keep on coming and they tend to hurt you.

In the aftermath of their seventh-straight victory, a 16-12 defeat of the Warriors at Waikato Stadium, the Bulldogs were looking and sounding like a team that had forgotten how to lose.

Under the guidance of Des Hasler the Doggies are fast developing a culture of resilience and defensive confidence, which when combined with their talented roster forms a potent rugby league cocktail.

The win on Sunday was their fifth victory by four points or less this year, and according to centre Josh Morris, further proof that they can get the job in ugly or pretty circumstances.

“I wouldn’t say we are happy to fight it out in the close games, but it is handy that we have had that practice and won a few close ones,” he said.

“We really pride ourselves on our defence and working hard for one another.

“If it’s not me then it’s someone else coming up with a big play week in, week out, which wins us a game.

“Everyone is working hard for one another and we are coming away with the results which is pleasing.”

The Bulldogs are the best defensive team in the competition, and heading into Round 10 had conceded the least number of tries with (19), and leaked the second fewest line breaks (28).

What the stats don’t measure though are the extra efforts being made; the special tackles that come when all appears lost.

The Bulldogs produced just that in the dying minutes against the Warriors.

With Shaun Johnson racing down the right wing to even the score up, Sam Perrett managed to slow him down just enough for Morris to put in a last-ditch tackle, bundling the halfback into touch and securing the victory in the process.

“They got us caught short there and he (Johnson) put a bit of footwork on me, I just chased my hardest and luckily Sam Perrett did enough to get him into touch,” Morris said.

“I knew as soon as I hit him that his legs were in touch before he got the ball away, I was pretty pumped.”

Skipper Michael Ennis labelled Morris’s effort a ‘play of the season’.
“I thought he (Johnson) was home too, and then Josh… he is a special player mate, a special player,” Ennis said.

“That was just pure attitude and that’s probably why he plays at the level he does. He played in the Test a few weeks ago and no doubt he will be in the [NSW] Origin side on Tuesday.

“In the end to be honest I thought it was a play of the year what Josh Morris came up with there.”

The Bulldogs now head into the representative period facing the real possibility of losing Morris, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Josh Jackson and Tony Williams at some point throughout the three State of Origin matches.

But Morris believed his squad, who against the Warriors had an 81 per cent completion rate, had gathered enough momentum to see them through the difficult period.

“It gives us a lot of confidence. We have worked hard over the past six weeks to be where we are leading into the rep rounds and I think all the boys are really happy with the effort.”
Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours 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.

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