The first grade Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs put on on a polished performance to close out a win over the Bombala Blue Heelers on Sunday.
The Heelers are shaping as one of the biggest premiership contenders and very difficult to shut down, but after jostling for control in the first half, the Bulldogs got the upper hand to claim a 40-20 win.
The two teams had been devastating in their early sets, trading blows with try after try, while a penalty goal helped the Bulldogs to an 18-16 lead at the break.
Whoever scored the opening try in the second half could have swayed the momentum.
And it was the Bulldogs finding the line with a couple of breakaway runs, despite an error on the kick off putting them on the back foot early.
Grant Moon was tackled on the line but was able to down the ball in the process and the Bulldogs just built from there.
Good tries to Jack Mcguire and a blinding left-edge run to score by Kyle Shepherdson saw the hosts extending their lead.
However, the Blue Heelers were relentless in their tackling pressure and mounted regular assaults, coming close to the Bulldogs’ try-line.
The tackling efforts of the Bulldogs were impeccable as the visitors were regularly turned away, even when firing a full set inside the Bulldogs’ 20.
The visitors became visibly frustrated as they ran into a wall of blue and white and tempers flared late in the second half.
However, the Bulldogs capitalised on what errors they could force and piled on a series of tries with strong runs from Ryan Becker and Grant Moon laying a platform for good expansive footy.
Earlier, the reserve grade match came to an unfortunate close with the game called early in the second half when a Bombala player broke their leg and an ambulance was called.
The Bull Ants had the advantage 22-12 after a strong first-half showing and had been defending well against mounting pressure from Bombala when the remainder of the game had to be called off.
Not everything went Merimbula-Pambula’s way though, as the visiting Bombala High Heelers scored a comfortable 20-0 win over the Hot Doggies in the league-tag fixture.
The match was almost a polar opposite of the first grade as the High Heelers played crisp sets as the Hot Doggies became visibly frustrated in the second half.
The Hot Doggies were able to regather some clever short kicks, but was just unable to break the defensive line of the High Heelers.
This Sunday the Bulldogs travel up the highway to meet the Stallions at the Cooma Showground.
League-tag opens proceedings at 10.30am with first grade at 2.30pm.