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Who prevails in a headbutting contest? In one corner there is one man with a head reinforced by metal plates, and in the other, the opposition carrying a fractured cheekbone.

No charges from grand final

This appeared to be the reality faced in the grand final when Bulldogs forward Tim Browne seemed to make a beeline for the injured face of Clive Churchill medallist Sam Burgess in the opening stages of the second half of Souths' 30-6 premiership victory.

Packing down for a scrum, Browne looked to have come down fiercely and quickly when binding with the Souths front row, directly towards the clearly injured Burgess.

Having just come back from a fractured skull himself, Browne had three metal plates in his forehead to back him in but ultimately denied he intentionally targeted the injured Rabbitoh.

"I probably was testing out the metal plates in my forehead to see if they worked," Browne laughed before switching to the serious subject matter. 

"But no, I didn't try and do anything like that.

"We definitely noticed [he was injured] because he was touching there and there was a bit of blood there but you don't go out there to head-high anyone or hit someone in an unlawful way.

"To be totally honest, absolutely nothing was said. Full credit to Sam, he's a very tough player and deserved the win."

With his name in the clear, Browne appeared to be surprisingly upbeat despite the Bulldogs’ 30-6 grand final loss though admitted he was daunted by the experience of playing in front of 83,833 individuals.

Only a week into his return following a 10 week layoff from his unfortunate skull injury, Browne realised the physicality a grand final fixture presents upon entering the fray late in the first half.

"It was pretty tight the whole game but it sort of got away from us in the first half," Browne said.

"It was a very physical game, it was one we were up for... but I suppose that's football."

Undoubtedly saddened by the way they bowed out in 2014, the club will be further reeling with the loss of captain Michael Ennis from the club.

With the club captain denied a proper send off thanks to two fractures in his left foot before he departs to the Shire in 2015, Ennis's omission showed out on the field.

It was something Browne certainly realised as well with the Bulldogs lacking direction without their inspirational leader.

"Our ball control was not up to the standards we would usually play. We did a lot of tackling and handed over the ball at different crucial times," Browne said.

"Not having Mick on the field, being as important as he has been, his leadership is just amazing and he's a bloke on and off the field you want to be around.

"We missed his massive influence in terms of what we're all about tonight... and we'll certainly miss him immensely next year."

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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