Bulldogs dig in to secure finals finish

Jake McDonald led from the front with some good run options to the right side setting up his playmakers against Eden.
Jake McDonald led from the front with some good run options to the right side setting up his playmakers against Eden.

The Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs have held on to defeat the Eden Tigers over the weekend.

At a windswept George Brown Memorial Oval the Bulldogs got out to a solid lead at half-time, but were forced to fend off a second half resurgence by the Eden outfit to hold on for a 24-22 victory on Sunday.

Both clubs were a little understrength and relatively threadbare on the bench with both clubs calling on some already battered and bruised bodies from their respective reserve grade outfits to back up.

Penalties and loose carries waylaid both outfits in the early portions of the game with play sweeping end-to-end only for one team to drop attacking pressure in a handover or intercept.

However, once play settled the Bulldogs found a bit of momentum to score the first points.

Magnus Gillberg cut a quick burst to break through the defence and score the opener.

Jake Mikula made the best of the abrasive cross-field wind to kick the conversion and give the Bulldogs a good jump.

Luke Rixon scored next off a blazing run up the right edge where the Tigers came close to tackling him into touch.

However, the Bulldogs centre managed some fancy footwork and a couple of strong fends to crash over in the corner - this time the kick wobbling just left of the posts as the Bulldogs took charge 10-0.

Joel Grewar fired Eden up with a right edge blinder to trail 4-10 as the kick waived away.

Blake Schafer then provided a good strike option for the Bulldogs, running on to a neat grubber kick by his brother Corey off Eden's 10 to plant the loose ball neatly in the in-goal.

The conversion went over - and then late in the piece the Bulldogs opted for the two after missing an earlier conversion to lead 18-10 at the break.

Rixon again starred for the Bulldogs early in the second half with a great run setting up a 24-10 lead, but the visitors soon found themselves on the back foot and rallying to hold off a resurgent Eden squad.

Brett Kelly and Joel Grewar tries got Eden close, then John Aldridge found the mark with a penalty for Eden to trail by two with just three minutes left.

However, the Bulldogs stood firm in defence and held on for the narrow win which shores up their place in fourth spot.

Ironically there was no shift in the ladder with both the Tathra Sea Eagles and Bombala Blue Heelers securing the result, while Moruya and Eden stay firm in fifth and sixth following their respective losses.

The Bulldogs will now head to McKay Park in Batemans Bay on Saturday in hopes of defeating the Bay Tigers to shore up their place on the competition table.

A loss would see the Dogs hold fifth place on for and against.