BATHURST Bulldogs outside centre Josh Weekes was the hero for his side in Saturday’s Blowes Clothing Cup colts grand final victory – albeit a reluctant one.
With his side down 8-6 nearing the final five minutes of the Endeavour Oval decider, Weekes nailed a clutch penalty goal to give his side the lead.
They never looked back.
In fact, his cool kicking lifted the Dogs under 20s, so much so the blue and golds scored the game’s final try right on full time through prop Tim Serakai.
Weekes nailed that conversion too, handing his Bulldogs outfit a 16-8 victory, capping an undefeated campaign in style.
VIDEO: What Bathurst Bulldogs coach Damien Grant had to say:
“I didn’t want to kick it,” Weekes said after the game, the young centre nailing four goals despite missing one from in front after just 60 seconds of the 2015 grand final.
“I told the captain I’m not kicking this. But he said ‘I trust you’,” he continued.
“It can’t get much better than this.”
Bulldogs coach Damien Grant lauded his group, one that undoubtedly battled a bout of grand final nerves as mistakes led to Dubbo surging to a 5-3 advantage at the half-time break.
Unlike Weekes though, Grant had little doubt his goal-kicking centre would nail the pressure kicks required.
VIDEO: What Dubbo Kangaroos coaches Dean Matthews and Troy Collins had to say:
“Weekesy has been good for us all year,” Grant said, adding the nerves weren’t just suffered by his players.
“I could see something coming that I wasn’t about to enjoy.
“We went away from what got us here, and later in the second half we got back to it. We were very nervous, and one game of football in a month is hard.”
Thanks to the boot of Weekes, Bathurst led 3-nil after 20 minutes.
That advantage was short lived, however, with a brilliant individual try to Roos fullback Luke Kelly bumping Dubbo to a 5-3 lead.
At the 37-minute mark, Charles O’Connor nailed a penalty goal to gift Roos an 8-3 lead before Weekes, again, edged his side forward with a penalty goal of his own, making the score 8-6 with 21 minutes remaining.
A brutal grand final from the start, as the dying stages of the contest neared the intensity lifted and, with the game on the line, Weekes sailed his third penalty goal over the black dot to give Bathurst the lead for the first time in 30 minutes.
They never looked back.
VIDEO: Bathurst Bulldogs hero Josh Weekes speaks after full time:
“We gave them a few scares there I’m sure,” a proud Roos co-coach Dean Matthews said.
“They’ve been the top side all year … but to our boys, I’m proud as punch.
“We (Matthews and Troy Collins) took the job on at the start of the year and struggled to get five or six to training.
“We spoke about pulling the boys out of the competition because we couldn;’t get anyone and here we are three months later eight points off winning it.”
And Weekes, he was as relieved as any player at Endeavour Oval on Saturday.
“Real excited. I thought they had it there for a bit in the first 50 minutes … but we pulled through, it feels great,” he said.
BATHURST BULLDOGS 16 (Tim Serakai try; Josh Weekes conv; Josh Weeks 3 pen goals) def DUBBO ROOS 8 (Luke Ryan try; Charles O’Connor pen goal).