Kurri Kurri made it three from three trial wins with an impressive 36-28 victory against South Newcastle at Kurri Kurri Sportsground on Saturday.
Two late tries to the Lions were the only blemish for the Bulldogs, who gave six players their first grade debut with key players Terence Seu Seu and Ben Wyborn among those missing from the line-up
Souths also fielded several inexperienced players, but were unable to match their effort from two weeks ago when they smashed Maitland 52-25.
Bulldgos coach Phil Williams was pleased with the continued improvement by his squad on the track and in games.
“It’s always good to win. The effort was there, things are starting to come together,” he said.
“We had a couple out. It gave a lot of people exposure to first grade. There were six who played first grade debuts which was very pleasing.
“That’s what we need to do, the more people get exposure to first grade the better we are going to be.
“It was just a good team performance.”
Williams said the two late tries to the Lions in the final minutes of the game were disappointing and it showed they needed to be more clinical in their finish to games.
“We now just have to get a little bit more clinical in closing out games. It was good against Cessnock. We were clinical in that game but lapsed a bit today at the end,” he said.
“We need to be ruthless, when we have teams down we just need to keep driving it.
We need to be ruthless, when we have teams down we just need to keep driving it.- Kurri Kurri coach Phil Williams
“That will come because every game, every session we’ve improved in defence and attack, but in saying that now the real games start.
“Everything starts in a fortnight, we’ve probably got to be 40 per cent better from where we were today.”
The Bulldogs kick off their season against South Newcastle at Townson Oval on Saturday, April 16.
Williams said he expected a different looking Lions side from the one they played on Saturday.
He said his team would have several regular seniors returning, but it was always good to have pressure on for positions.
Meanwile, the Bulldogs’ season launch and Kurri Kurri Old Boy’s Sportsmen’s Night have been hailed a tremendous success.
The annual player auctions was again a highlight with strong bidding for last year’s best and fairest Mitch Cullen and star hooker Terence Seu Seu.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.