Dean Pay had heard the whispers.
An off-season of change had created some optimism at Belmore but after just one win in the opening five rounds had seen plenty of criticism thrown at the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Dubbo’s Pay, in his first season as an NRL coach, knew it was there but he didn’t listen.
He kept faith in his side and that was rewarded on Saturday when the Dogs downed the NOrth Queensland Cowboys 27-10 at Townsville.
It was a win Pay had been waiting on and one he demanded from his side.
"We've been coping a bit of criticism by the way we're playing but certainly internally we were just waiting for things to click for ourselves and it did tonight," Pay said.
The match was as good as over at half time as the Dogs shot out to a 19-0 lead following tries to Marcelo Montoya and Raymond Faitala-Mariner, as well as three penalties from Moses Mbye.
Any slim hopes of a second half comeback were shot down when Adam Elliott scored in the 49th minute, taking the match of the Cowboys’ reach.
Following the match, pointed to the efforts of forwards Aaron Woods, David Klemmer and Elliott as key to the victory after they dominated their Cowboys counterparts up front.
"Those three boys in particular were really good. They were really strong," Pay said.
"We completed (our sets) really high, which gives us a great opportunity."