Often when a side loses a grand final the message is to forget it, let the pain go, and focus on starting afresh when the new season rolls around.
That's not the case for Bathurst Bulldogs.
Bulldogs are using the hurt caused by losing last season's Blowes Clothing Cup grand final to Orange Emus as motivation and as a marker to improve on in 2019.
Coach Dean Oxley said as much in the build-up to Saturday's opening round and captain Peter Fitzsimmons mentioned it as well after a clinical win over the Dubbo Kangaroos at a warm No. 1 Oval on Saturday.
A double to prop Aaron Booby highlighted the perfect start for Bulldogs, the bonus point win away from home coming against over a new-look Roos side eager to impress after missing the finals last season.
"It's good to get the ball rolling," Fitzsimmons said after the 36-19 win.
"It's going to be really good to work on last season and go that one bit further and be that one bit stronger."
If early indications are anything to go by, Bulldogs are stronger.
The win away from home was set up by a dominant opening 30 minutes, when the men in blue and gold barely allowed the Roos to touch the ball.
The forward was immense and made metres through the middle while the likes of Harry Webber, Ben Sheppeard and Riley Hanrahan then showed real pace and power out wide.
New fullback Joe Nash scored his side's first try after 16 minutes before prop Booby took over in what is certain to be one of his club's highlights of the season.
The burly long-haired prop barged over from close range shortly after the 20 minute mark before scoring a second, which was a thing of beauty.
Booby burst through a hole 15 out from the tryline and when one-one-one with Roos fullback Anthony Golding no fancy footwork was needed as he bumped the No.15 aside on his way to scoring.
Right on half-time the Roos, who had looked dangerous with the ball on a couple of occasions earlier, crossed through prop Jock Rodgers to make it 19-7 at the break, a deficit the hosts could never really cut in to.
"In that first half, if it wasn't 80-20 possession it was 90-10," Roos skipper Shaun McHugh said.
"You can never win a half of football like that, but we fought well and we never gave in. That was pleasing and we'll be better for it."
The Roos started the second half poorly and barely two minutes had gone by when Bulldogs centre James Woolmington ran back against the angle and scored to stretch it out to 26-7.
A Tim Beach try dragged it back to 26-12 but in a key few minutes the hosts lost Mitch Smith to a yellow card and impressive debutant Angus Howard to a serious shoulder injury, and Bulldogs capitalised.
Alex Weal crossed for the Bathurst side and while George Woods nabbed one for the Roos late on, a Kurt Weekes penalty right on full-time iced the result.
The win also meant Bulldogs retained the Ken Laird Cup, the piece of silverware the two sides play for in honour of a man who is a life member of both clubs.
McHugh, while obviously disappointed, felt there was plenty to be positive about after the likes of Howard, Woods, Chris Green, Will Michell, and Will Archer all showing promise on debut.
"We're all adults and we've all played footy so before so it should only take a couple of games," McHugh said of the new-look side clicking.
"If I'm still talking about building in round six then us as senior players and the coaching staff haven't done our job.
"We know it's a tough run but it's exciting to know the potential is here."
Roos travel to Orange to take on defending premiers Emus next weekend while Bulldogs will play host to Orange City.
City failed to score a try in its opening round loss to Cowra and another win for Bulldogs in round two would set the side up for success.
"No one was off the pace and it's a good building point," Fitzsimmons said of the opening win.
"If this is our starting point then that's pleasing."
- BATHURST BULLDOGS 36 (Aaron Booby 2, Joe Nash, James Woolmington, Alex Weal tries; Ben Sheppeard 4 conversions, Kurt Weekes penalty) def DUBBO KANGAROOS 19 (Jock Rodgers, Tim Beach, George Woods tries; Hamish Gordon 2 conversions)
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