The showdown against former champions Avatiu Nikao Eels on Saturday at the BCI Stadium looked a close affair after a feisty first half, but the country boys put on a spirited performance in the second spell to sprint away with a 37-16 win.
It was a tense affair, the Eels wanting to win it badly for their departing inspirational coach Albert Nicholas and Meti Noovao trying to land his first major trophy as the Bulldogs coach.
The premiership winners started on a high after a passionate first-quarter display which they dominated.
Eels eventually managed to sneak in with a try through Tua Ravula before he dived over for his second following a brilliant aerial work from skipper Sirla Pera.
The Bulldogs were backpedaling then, exhausting their power to defend against the rampant Eels attackers. They stood their ground and prevailed.
Then they put on some gas and bounced back in a style to score two scintillating tries.
Both teams were locked 12-all at the break.
Eels had a better start to the second half, extending their lead to 16-12 but the Doggies came alive and put an unstoppable performance to leave the Eels clueless in remainder of the match.
Bulldogs scored four more tries plus a drop goal to clinch a well-deserved 37-16 win.
Ecstatic coach Meti Noovao could not hide his excitement as he hailed his brigade for job well done.
He led his team to three victories from four matches against the Eels this season.
“I just want to thank the Eels, Albert and his boys for giving us a great contest. My boys from Titikaveka, they deserve this win, at the end of the day they played the smartest footy,” Noovao said.
“We tried to maintain our urgency and discipline with the boys, we were still making those big errors but tried to minimise them. I’m really happy for the boys because they worked hard for this.”
The Eels seemed to have lacked the firepower in the last quarter of the match, letting the Bulldogs run in freely into their territory.
Although the side tried to make a late comeback, the Bulldogs did enough to secure the win and $5000 prizemoney after a five-year drought.
“We thank all our sponsors and supporters. Without them we are nothing. So this win is for them,” Noovao said.
Eels won the reserves grade while Bulldogs claimed the Under-19 title.