Bulldogs rediscover their composure
After a tough month of four consecutive losses where ball handling has been a huge problem, the Bulldogs were able to reverse that issue and drag out a finals-style win in a manner which had their coach praising both sides.
Des Hasler described the 18-16 win over Parramatta at ANZ Stadium – in which no points were scored for the final 35 minutes of the game – as "a gutsy game from both sides."
"I'm happy with the way attacked... it's been a tough couple of weeks for the boys," Hasler said.
"We've been in situations where we've been in games and didn't get the win. They stuck solid today and played a style of football that requires going set for set with a side like Parramatta. We ground it out."
He said the side's much improved completion rate – finishing an incredible 33 of 37 possessions – was something that had been lacking from his team’s performances over its four losses.
"We were able to do that [complete sets] tonight and the more you do that – you're in the contest."
Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis said in the context of the competition ladder (the Bulldogs move to fifth rather than dropping outside the eight) and the side's season overall, the win was "huge".
"It's been difficult over the past month just trying to take control of games when you don't have that possession and give other sides so much," he said.
"It was great tonight to play an 80 minute performance where we hung on to the football and you could just see when we went out in the warm up the second tiers were starting to fill up, it's that time of year, and I was really pleased with how the boys rose to the occasion tonight."