Dean Oxley calls Justin Mobbs one of Bathurst Bulldogs' x-factor players and it was easy to see why on Saturday as he scored a treble in the Blowes Clothing Cup leaders' 57-13 win over the Dubbo Kangaroos.
Mobbs was a stand out in the second row as he not only contributed to a dominant scrum and worked hard at the breakdown, but sliced through the Kangaroos defence at Ashwood Park.
His third try, which came with 70 seconds left, was arguably the most impressive as he anticipated play well to take an intercept deep in his own half then had the speed and energy left in his legs to run away and score.
"Justin got three points and players' player today. It's been a huge transition over a couple of years, a year and a half, coming from the centres and fullback in second grade to doing what he's doing week-in, week-out," Oxley said.
"He's scoring some hard line tries, instead of playing loose and wide he's actually learning how to play tight as a forward as well and uses his naturally skill set."
Before Mobbs stamped his influence on the match, it was the Roos who made the strongest start.
He's scoring some hard line tries, instead of playing loose and wide he's actually learning how to play tight as a forward as well and uses his naturally skill set.Bulldogs coach Dean Oxley, on star Justin Mobbs
They came out with good intent and were rewarded as they led 10-0 after as many minutes thanks to a Josh Howarth try and the boot of Hamish Gordon.
Bulldogs were under pressure, but they absorbed it and lifted.
They got on the board in the 13th minute as Alex Weal capitalised on a strong scrum and after a smart Joe Nash flick pass put Harry Peacock into space, Bulldogs had the lead at 12-10.
In the second half Bulldogs went on with the job. Two tries came off the back of big scrums - one of them against the feed - and Mobbs added two more to his haul.
When the Roos did find some space on the fringes, Bulldogs' cover defence was good with James Woolmington making some impressive hits.
Though he is still seeking improvement in areas such as the line-out, Oxley was delighted with how his side responded to the early pressure.
"We just gained momentum when we had possession, it was all about not beating ourselves, not throwing the ball away and not making errors. Discipline was the key word," Oxley said. "The last three weeks we have been down at half-time, so one of our goals was to be in front at half-time, not allow the game to get away from us and have to claw our way back.
"When the boys played footy, it was really quite impressive and I was proud ... we don't get those results against Dubbo very often."
Roos coach Simon Petelo knows it is still a work in progress with his side this season and paid tribute to Bulldogs.
The hosts punished the Roos' mistakes - missed tackles especially costly - and drove them back in a dominant scrum.
"We came out with the right intensity this week, the boys were ready for it. But they weathered the storm and came back at us, it's a sign of a quality side if they can do that," Petelo said.
"We were pretty disappointed with that, but they are pretty talented side and I think they deserve to be on top of the table.
"You can't give a quality side like that any opportunities because they will turn it into points. Today they showed why they are the front runners.
"We started off really well and scored a quick try, but we just couldn't hold on to it. We've still obviously got a lot to work on, but hopefully we can bounce back.
"We are still learning as a club and I think each week it is showing that we are improving in a lot of areas."
- BATHURST BULLDOGS 57 (Justin Mobbs 3, Harry Peacock 2, Joe Nash, Alex Weal, Jock Suttor, Mark Donnelly tries; Will Oldham 6 conversions) def DUBBO KANGAROOS 13 (Josh Howarth try; Hamish Gordon penalty goal; Hamish Gordon conversion)
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