Sixty percent possession and at least three or four real scoring opportunities ought to guarantee that you take a comfortable lead into half time. Likewise, playing at your spiritual home ground, in front of a full house of loyal fans in a match designated as send off/thank you for one of your most popular players: a player who epitomizes the team and everything they stand for - and yet one who the management of the club has decided to let go to another club - should ensure success.
Playing against a team of mainly rookies who are coming last in the competition and are also rated last in defense, should also guarantee not just a comfortable half time lead, but also a comfortable win and a much needed two competition points.
Perhaps if we were talking about any other club, this post would be redundant because what should have logically happened, would have actually happened. However, I am talking about my beloved Bulldogs who suck, and who furthermore in the dying stages of the game, looked like they were trying to lose.
Check out the highlights if you are interested, but here's what happened in a nutshell. By half time, the Doggies 8-0 lead had been reduced to 8-6, and was ,over the course of most of the second half, turned into a 18-8 deficit. We are ranked 4th in defense, so how, one may well ask, did the last placed team score three tries against us?
The Bulldogs hit back with two tries in five minutes, the last of which was converted with roughly ten seconds to go in the match. Score: Bulldogs 20. Knights 18. While the players were celebrating victory on the sideline, the opposition was rushing for one last kick off and a hail Mary play at the death. The short kick off resulted in the Knights being awarded a penalty with regular time expired.
The penalty was justified. The very same player mentioned earlier, the most popular Bulldog, the heart and soul of the team, committed a deliberate, and completely unnecessary foul to concede the penalty. A successful penalty kick would have locked the scores at 20-20 and forced the game into golden point extra time.
The Knights kicker made an embarrassingly bad attempt at kicking the goal and the Bulldogs won the match.
Was I happy about the win? Not really. It was an ugly win, and saying that a win is a win regardless of by how much you win or how you play, is fine when you are a premiership, or at least a play-offs contender. When you are neither, when you are a monumental disappointment to your fans...such a win feels hollow.
Bulldogs V Knights Round 18 match highlights