BULLDOGS: There's still hope for last year's premiers
Chinchilla Officials have a few days to ponder the team's inglorious start to the 2019 season that has yet to yield a win and seems unlikely to get easier any time soon.
The Bulldogs' 44-0 away loss to Roma Cities last weekend was the A-grade team's third loss in as many matches, leaving the side with a mountain to climb at Saturday's clash with the Wallumbilla-Surat Red Bulls at Bulldog Park.
The table provides an insight into Chinchilla's early-season malaise.
The Bulldogs have an unenviable points for-and- against tally of -104, helped by a bleak scoreline (56-0) in the second round at Mitchell.
In contrast, unbeaten Wallumbilla's for-and- against column reads out at +76.
Sunday's 30-14 win over Mitchell at Wallumbilla merely confirmed the scale of Chinchilla's task.
Bulldogs president Brad Smith said the senior team's performances, compared with 2018's domination, stemmed from an apparent unwillingness from some first-grade players to travel, while others had moved on or retired.
"We lined up with makeshift teams at Mitchell and Roma which meant players from reserve grade and the under-18s doubled up,” Smith said.
"Cities fielded a big, mobile forward pack and have a smart back line.
"It was always going to be tough.
"We're not alone in dealing with change: Other country clubs are in a similar position.
"The club is definitely in a rebuilding phase and working hard developing our younger players.
"It's a tough gig though when you lose five or so senior players to retirement in one hit and add to that shift and weekend work - it's an ongoing battle for country footy,”
"We are the mighty Bulldogs and we will get through this transition stage.
"Hopefully we'll be close to full strength in Saturday's game against the Red Bulls,” he said.
There was no lack of effort from the A-grade team, whose captain-coach Tommy Dodd defied a wrist fracture to play at Mitchell and Roma.
The reserves also dug deep, despite ending up with a similar fate, going down to Cities 40-0.
The one bright spot for Chinchilla came from the U18s which led 24-22 before their Roma counterparts gained a penalty goal to square things as the siren sounded.
Johannes Dickman crossed for two Chinchilla tries, with Frank Roma Jr and Callan Davison contributing one each and Matthew Hart successfully converting all four.
The Bulldogs will have a chance at redemption on Saturday when they face ladder leaders Wallumbilla- Surat at Bulldog Park.
Kick-off times are as follow:
1.10pm - Chinchilla Junior's Under 16s
2.20pm - Under 18's
3.40pm - Reserve Grade
5.00pm - A-Grade