AT long last the Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs gave their huge army of supporters a glimpse of their former selves by culling Jamberoo Superoos 38-22 last Saturday night at Mollymook Oval in scintillating fashion.
After winning 10 straight games and losing four key players, and then a streak of injuries, the Dogs showed all and sundry against a determined Jamberoo that they are still the team to beat as the semi-final period approaches in three weeks time.
As most eyes are fixed on Gerringong, the darlings of the competition, and the wild and woolly Warilla Gorillas, the Dogs have somehow slipped under the critics radars, even though they led the competition undefeated a month ago.
But the toughness of a seven-try romp last Saturday night against Jamberoo has once again got the alarm bells ringing.
The Roos opened the scoring with a quicksilver fourth-minute Josh Saunders try.
The Dogs retaliated 11 minutes later when crack rake forward Adam Stone pirouetted and sent skipper Gary Warburton thundering over as Luke Young made good the extra.
The Roos continued their impressive display and momentarily hit the front 10-6 after winger Jeremy Ryan picked up a dropped ball and fullback Jarrod Schodde converted.
The Dogs regathered the lead 12-10 when centre Steine Lofts capitalised on fullback Tom Cook chiming into the attack.
At the 29th minute, Cook once again made his presence felt when he cleverly chased two probing runs by back rower Carl Warburton and pivot Luke Young and scored wide out as Young converted for a 18-10 lead.
Roos answered with a Ryan intercept and Schodde took it to 18-16.
Bulldog centre Graham McGuiness crossed just before half-time to give Young the conversion and a 24-16 lead.
The Dogs were certainly motoring when Carl Warburton scored after chasing down a lone sprint by replacement Lachlan Moore.
Then at the 62nd minute Young pushed the score to 32-16 before the game was dramatically stopped for an hour after Jamberoo prop Phil Webster was treated for a serious injury.
With 18 minutes remaining on resumption, Dogs winger Blake Mackey scored for the locals.
Young added the extra.
Jamberoo were rewarded with a consolation try by winger Ben Barnard as Schodde closed the scoring at 38-22.
For the victors, Carl Warburton, Adam Stone and Adam Tracey were prominent.
For the visitors, Matt Coeho made 50 tackles in the game, and was joined in best on ground by Gavin Jarrett, Jonathon Dallas and Robbie Noble.