Bulldogs assistant coach Jim Dymock won the Clive Churchill medal when a side last came from outside the top four to win rugby league’s Holy Grail.
If Canterbury want advice on how to finally climb NRL’s Everest and win the title from outside the top four, they need look no further than assistant coach Jim Dymock, who starred in the last side to achieve the feat – the Bulldogs outfit of 1995.
No side since the NRL was formed at the end of the Super League war ahead of the 1998 season has claimed the premiership from outside the top four.
Parramatta, in 2009, Sydney Roosters in 2010 and the Warriors in 2011 all made the grand final from the bottom of the final eight, but fell at the final hurdle.
The Bulldogs of 1995, then known as the Sydney Bulldogs, captained by Terry Lamb, survived sudden death wins over St George 12-8, Brisbane 24-10 and Canberra 25-6 to qualify for a grand final berth against minor premiers Manly.
The Sea Eagles had lost only two games in the expanded 20 team competition that year and went into the Sydney Football Stadium encounter as hot favourites.
But with Kangaroos back-rower Dymock at his ball-playing best the Bulldogs upset the Sea Eagles 17-4, with Dymock claiming the Clive Churchill medal as man of the match.
The decider was not without controversy though with at least one of Canterbury’s three tries coming from a blatant forward pass and another coming on the seventh tackle.
Dymock has served as assistant coach under Des Hasler since he defected from Brookvale to Belmore ahead of the 2011 NRL season.
Lamb told Channel Nine’s Footy Show that team togetherness was behind that 1995 triumph and it was again driving the club in 2014.
“It was all about mateship,” he said.
“We were together on and off the field and that is what they are doing (now).
“They are all really close and you can see that in the way they are playing.”