Even thought his side dispacthed major semi-final challengers Dubbo Kangaroos in a second-half blitz, Bathurst five-eighth Adam Miles said his Bulldogs won't let overconfidence creep into their camp ahead of the Blowes Clothing Cup second grade grand final in a fortnight.
Miles and his Bulldogs taught Dubbo a lesson in ball control in the back end of Saturday's grand final qualifier at Anne Ashwood Park, reaping the reward of sustained attacking pressure to pile on 27 second-half points and secure a 40-24 victory.
That final scoreline appeared to flatter the Dubbo side considering they scored two converted tries in the last five minutes to significantly cut into Bathurst's lead, after Bulldogs blew their 13-12 half-time buffer out to a 28-point margin.
"I didn't think that at all, I actually thought the scoreline wasn't a great representation of the game because Dubbo were tough, really tough," Miles said, diplomatically.
"We'll just take it one step at a time and we're going well so we will be confident but we did still have a few lapses [on Saturday] and that's sort of happened all year, and we need to get rid of that if we want to win that grand final so we've still got things to improve on."
Bulldogs led 6-nil after just 12 minutes thanks to a pair of Kurt Weekes penalty goals and he extended that lead to 13 when he converted Sam Macpherson's 20th minute try, at that point Dubbo had seen virtually no ball, as much through their own errors as anything.
They finally controlled some possession and crossed twice in the dying stages of the opening half, first Will Anderson barged over from the back of a scrum and then Will Michell crashed across from close range.
Ryan Johnston nailed the second conversion to make it a one-point ball-game at 13-12, and considering the Dubbo side had the breeze at their back in the second half they looked every chance of knocking off the minor premiers.
Bulldogs had other ideas, after Weekes nailed another penalty goal the Bathurst side refused to let up and their ridiculous control and retention led to Phil Tonkin, Tyler Cook, Josh Weekes and Riley Hanrahan's tries.
They pushed Bulldogs' lead to 28, and while Josh Howarth and Sid Pye crashed over in the last five minutes for Roos they were nothing more than consolation tries.
"Credit to Bathurst they played the better rugby, but it was the same old story for us in a way. We've run with them this year but we always seem to be missing something, the ball was one thing [on Saturday]," Dubbo co-coach Mal Donald said.
"We just didn't have enough of it. We held it in the last 15 minutes of the first half and scored a couple of tries, did the same in the second half, I think that was the biggest thing, we didn't control the ball.
"We'll just have to go away, forget this one and refocus I guess."
- BATHURST BULLDOGS 40 (Sam Macpherson, Phil Tonkin, Tyler Cook, Josh Weekes, Riley Hanrahan tries; Kurt Weekes 2, Woolmington conversions; Weekes 3 penalty goals) def DUBBO KANGAROOS 24 (Will Michell, Will Anderson, Josh Howarth, Sid Pye tries; Ryan Johnston 2 conversions)