BATHURST Bulldogs coach Nathan Pearce was looking for a hard game of rugby on Saturday and that is exactly what the Cowra Eagles provided his men.
While the Ashwood Park scoreboard read 27-8 to the Bulldogs at full-time, the bonus-point win in the Blowes Clothing Cup match was hard-earned.
“That’s a tough game of footy, they played a good game of footy, smart footy,” Pearce said.
“Their set piece was brilliant, their scrum I reckon got over us today and we’ve got a good scrum.
“But we did strangle them a bit in defence, so I am very pleased with our defence. It’s a shame we let them in there near the end, but that was good pressure from Cowra. They well and truly deserved it.”
Having provided competition leaders Orange Emus with a stern test a week earlier, the Eagles came to Bathurst hoping to upset the second placed Bulldogs.
Bulldogs restricted the Eagles to just three points in the first via an Anthony Yeo penalty, but the Bathurst outfit also encountered some good defence.
Still, tries to flanker Alex Weal and number 8 Peter Fitzsimmons, who returned from suspension, gave Bulldogs a 12-3 advantage at half-time.
In the second half a Kurt Weekes penalty and a Fitzsimmons try took that lead to 20-3.
Eagles prop Evan Stanbridge was next to cross but another five-pointer to Fitzsimmons sealed the win.
“We probably dropped about two levels from last week, I think our silly mistakes let them back into the game,” Troy Hayes said.