Josh Bradford attempts to break the line with Joe Ward in support when Coota last faced Harden at McLean Oval in round 6 on May 21. The Hawks won the match 24-16 and the Bulldogs will be out to flip the result in Saturday’s match.

The Cootamundra Bulldogs have kept their fantastic 2022 George Tooke Shield form going with a dominant 70-12 win against the Boomanulla Raiders last weekend in Canberra.  Fresh off a bye last week, the Bulldogs came out firing against the Raiders, asserting their dominance early and never looking back to stroll to a convincing win. The Bulldogs kick-off and Boomanulla controlled the ball for the first 3-4 sets off the back of penalties, making Coota defend for the opening five minutes of the game before they even touched the ball. Coota’s best players for the day featured Brendan Kelleher, Jordyn Ballard who scored multiple tries, Charlie Tucker in the centres was strong again and Luke Levett was impressive too.

Bulldogs trainer and club stalwart Ned Miller said the result was pleasing for the team. “We went there not really knowing what to expect with them at their home game, obviously most teams are stronger at home. We earmarked it as a game that we should win but there’s always a fear where we might treat them too easily,” Ned said. “We had a reasonably strong side with Jordyn Ballard and Chris Maher back into the side. Their inclusions certainly helped, not only for the team itself but for the mindset that those two guys were back.

“It was probably good we had those defensive sets first up because it made us all switch on. Then we got our share of the ball and scored a couple of tries in quick succession. For a team that has lost a lot of their games by big margins, a couple of quick tries took the wind out of their sails.”

Coota took a 42-6 lead into half-time and continued their dominance in the second half. “We were determined to put on as many points as possible knowing that for and against does have a serious impact on the way that the ladders shaping up this season,” Ned continued.

“We were a little bit disappointed that we let them in for our second try, but everyone’s fully aware that that games out of the road now. We’ve got some pretty tough games heading into what we hope is a successful end to the year.  “I think if we win our share of the next three to four games we’ll be in good stead.” The Bulldogs had a first-grade club debutant last weekend in Peter Adam, signing up before the end of the June deadline and came off the bench to play hooker.  “He was really good. He gave us some good direction out of dummy half and some good options himself when he went to run the ball. He’ll be a very valuable acquisition to the side over the back end of the season.

“He’s a mature aged player with a bit of skill and defensive mind about him.” This Saturday, the Bulldogs and Harden Hawks will meet on Les Boyd Oval at Fisher Park in round 12 of the GTS season, with kick-off at 2:30pm.  “We’re fully aware that clash will be a physical and intense game. It’s going to be a skilful game, we’ll need to be switched on from the first set of six, and I know the boys were talking about it as soon as the Boomanulla game was over,”

Ned continued. “It’ll be school holidays so there’s no junior league. We’re hoping we will get a big crowd here to show a bit of support behind the boys in the local derby.” Due to the Boomanulla not having a ladies league tag side, the Bullettes had a bye last weekend but will come up against Harden this Saturday at home in what is set to be a mouthwatering clash in round 12.

Kick-off from 1:15pm.