BULLIOH forward Tom Hickey will be treating Tumbarumba with plenty of caution when they lock horns in the grand final replay at Tumbarumba on Saturday.
The defending premier was spanked by flag favourite Corryong by 93 points in the opening round before going down by 39 points to a resurgent Cudgewa last week.
The two heavy losses have many pundits dismissing the Roos as a flag contender.
But Hickey isn’t one of them.
“They have obviously lost a few but have been the standout side for two years and won 23 matches straight,” Hickey said.
“Some opposition might be writing them off but we’re expecting a close encounter.”
Hickey returned to the kennel this year after missing last season due to work commitments.
He was a vital cog in the Bulldogs’ 2010-11 flag triumphs where he won the league goalkicking title on both occasions.
The Bulldogs have a lot more firepower inside 50 this season with Hickey playing alongside Mitta United premiership forward Jade Culph.
The pair combined for 10 goals against Border-Walwa in the opening round.
Culph missed last week’s loss against Corryong with injury as they struggled to kick a winning score, with Hickey kept goalless by the Demons’ defence.
Hickey said the arrival of coach Peter Dean as coach over the summer had rejuvenated the Bulldogs.
“Peter has been great for the club and its not everyday you get to play under someone who has played at the elite level,” he said.
In a further boost, Bullioh has lured ruckman James Bannister back to the kennel from Yackandandah and signed North Albury’s Charlie Hindle.
In other matches, Corryong looks to have too much firepower for Federal while Cudgewa should win against Border-Walwa.