How the Bulldog found its bark

Wodonga skipper Robbie Jackson.
Wodonga skipper Robbie Jackson.

WODONGA skipper Robbie Jackson has credited some late season “soul searching” for the Bulldogs’ barnstorming charge into the Cricket Albury-Wodonga grand final.

Jackson said his team had been forced to take stock after losses to reigning premier Lavington and Albury in rounds 11 and 12.

“We needed to improve,” Jackson said.

“Three or four weeks ago I reckon 90 per cent of the competition wrote us off.

“We had a couple of hard training sessions and extra sessions and a couple of meetings and soul searching things and we managed to turn the corner with our performances.

“I think we played close to our best cricket at the weekend.”

Wodonga has overcome challenges from Tallangatta and Lavington in its two finals victories and Jackson expects St Pat’s to be even more formidable in the grand final.

The Patties have lost the past two deciders against Lavington and Wodonga and will be desperate to cash in with several star players expected to retire in the near future.

“We have the big one against a finals hardened team now,” Jackson said.

“St Pat’s have been there every year for the past six or seven years.

“They are finals hardened.

“There is a big difference between match hardened and finals hardened and they are finals hardened.”

St Patrick’s and Wodonga have clashed twice early in the season with Wodonga winning a one-dayer in round one and St Patrick’s winning by 23 runs in a two-dayer in round five.

Import Jason van der Merwe made 114 in the two-dayer, while Jackson (99 not out in round 1 and 83 in round 5) was the star for the Bulldogs on both occasions.

“We haven’t played St Pat’s for it seems like forever,” Jackson said.

“A lot has changed with both sides since then.”