HALFWAY through Saturday's Ferguson Cup major semi-final at Ashwood Park between the Dubbo Kangaroos and Bathurst Bulldogs it looked like the competition's two leading sides were set to play out another close contest.
In the second half the Kangaroos let the Bulldogs know that they had different plans.
The minor premier Dubbo squad ran over the top of the Bulldogs after carrying a 5-0 lead into the break, running out comfortable 33-5 winners at the Bathurst ground.
Strong runs from Alahna Ryan along with great playmaking from halves pairing Janalee Conroy and Lakeisha Hull were - as they often are - the biggest driving forces behind the Kangaroos' success.
Kangaroos out-enthused the Bulldogs at the breakdown for the entire hour's play, held onto the ball more securely and looked far less troubled when moving the ball wide.
Conroy said the lead up to the game had the Roos camp feeling confident they could bounce back from their only loss of the season, which came three weeks ago against the Bulldogs.
"The last time we lost to them we lost a bit of confidence from that, so the last few weeks we've been focused on building on that both individually and as a team," she said.
"At half-time we knew we had the win. We were very confident that whole game. Our training has been amazing so a performance like that was in our expectations.
"Getting the week off is great. We can't wait for the final. We've only got four training sessions to go so just have to work hard and work together leading up to the big day."
It was a subdued mood among the Bulldogs camp at full-time after they produced a performance well below their usual standards.
On the positive note for the home side they get a second opportunity to reach the decider in the upcoming preliminary final, and coach Matt Waterford takes heart in knowing there's plenty of room for improvement.
"We just didn't show up to play today and to Dubbo's credit they capitalised on that," he said.
"They threw everything and I thought we might be able to capitalise and get a bit of a reward for the work we'd been doing but we did a couple of things poorly that gave Dubbo a sniff, and when you give them a sniff they're gone.
"There's always next week. We get a few girls back, and we can rebuild."
Dubbo dominated the opening half in both possession and field position but only had the one try to show for it.
That came less than three minutes into the game when Olivia Hall scored in the corner.
Bulldogs spent little to no time inside Dubbo's own 22m in the first half, but letting in just a solitary try despite being outplayed gave the team confidence of a comeback.
Those hopes were dwindled greatly as the Roos scored twice in the opening 12 minutes of the new half.
Ryan picked up the first of those tries and the second of those came on the back of a long run from Jean Littlewood out of her own half.
The visitors continued to pile on the pain and soon put the game out of the Bulldogs' reach with another two tries scored in quick succession.
Hull and Conroy scored similar tries, each finding space through the middle of the park at the Bulldogs' 22m line to score next to the uprights.
Bulldogs made sure they didn't get completely whitewashed as Tiana Anderson scored after the full-time siren when she found space on the right edge.
DUBBO KANGAROOS 33 (Olivia Hall, Alahna Ryan, Jean Littlewood, Lakeisha Hull, Janalee Conroy tries; Rebecca Dunn 4 conversions) defeated BATHURST BULLDOGS 7 (Tiana Anderson try; Sarah Colman conversion)