The main reason proffered as to why the Gunnedah Bulldogs have had their most successful year since re-entering the competition in 2002 centres on the belief that the influence of a long-standing core group of players has been enhanced by the arrival of a talented new group of players.
It’s a tangible quality that can be measured by cold, hard statistics.
But what can’t be measured that way is a quality we like to think is quintessentially Australian – mateship. Strip away the years of failure and the recent success, and at the heart of the Bulldogs is mateship.
That’s the opinion of someone who would know: Bulldogs skipper Andrew George.
As the Dogs prepare to face Moree at home in a regular-season finale before meeting New England in the major semi-final the following week, club veteran George has touched on how mateship has always been the key element coursing through the side.
Its impact on George must be profound. The 26-year-old debuted for the club at age 16. “We’re all mates, to be honest,” he said. “Everyone gets along very well. It’s always been a big part of our club – the social side.
“We all stick together off the field as well … We weren’t too worried about results when we were getting beaten too much. At the end of the day, it’s just an added bonus that we are having a bit of success.”
But that success, George said, would be worthless if the side did not win their first premiership since 1991. “To finish minor premiers is nice, but it means nothing if we can’t win the two final games,” he said.