Kurri Kurri is back on the march in 2019 after a tense 10-2 victory against Cessnock put them back in the winner's circle. Image via Trish Evenden

Kurri Kurri bounced back into the Monarch Blues Tag winner’s circle with a tight 10-2 win over Cessnock on Saturday afternoon, in part due to a major Group 21 signing “coming alive” in the weekend’s battle.

After falling to the defending champions ahead of the Easter break, Bulldogs coach Adam Martin revealed the loss “taught the team a lot of lessons” about the defensive work of the Kurri Kurri side. Putting them into practice in the third round netted results – the Goannas were only able to grab a two-point goal in the contest.

While it was an eight-point margin gives the Bulldogs the victory on the table, Martin believes his side could have had “three or four more” after carving paths through the middle, only to be stopped short by desperation defence from the home side.

“I think we made about eight line breaks in the first half and it was still nil-all at half time,” Martin said of the 10-2 win. “We could have definitely had a few more, but it seems like Cessnock never really has a bad game against us and they did what they needed to do to keep us quiet early.”

Cessnock kicked their goal to give themselves the first points of the clash at the Cessnock Sportsground on Saturday, then the Bulldogs made sure to close out the game and grab the two competitive points.

Elyse Stoker crossed first for the travelling Kurri Kurri side, before Olivia Warren doubled the Bulldogs’ margin to keep them in the lead.

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Holly Fisher-Webster, who made the switch the Bulldogs after being named the Group 21 Ladies League Tag player of the year in 2018, was a standout in the 10-2 victory. The new recruit, alongsider her sister Alana Fisher-Webster, guided the side around the park to make sure the eight-point margin stayed solid.

“She really took control of the game for us, and had her best game in Kurri Kurri colours so far,” Martin said. “She and her sister Alana both shone, and we’ve been expecting big things from her considering how she went last year. She’s certainly delivered.

“All over the park the girls played really well and the short scoreline maybe didn’t indicate how well I think everyone played. Like I said, we had so many line breaks and were creating opportunities, we just weren’t getting those points down in the end.”

Also in the third round, Wests downed Maitland 18-nil, while Central kept pace with the defending champions with a 42-nil victory over Nelson Bay at home.

Souths also picked up a win, knocking over Lakes United 8-nil in another lowscoring affair. The Macquarie Scorpions were on the bye.

TABLE: Wests, Central 6; Lakes, Maitland, Kurri, Souths 4; Macquarie 2; Nelson Bay, Cessnock 0.