West End second rower Kelepi Faukafa (with ball) is assuming an important co-captaincy role this season.
West End second rower Kelepi Faukafa (with ball) is assuming an important co-captaincy role this season. Cordell Richardson

Experienced words keep Bulldogs eye on the ball

FRESH from a nailbiting victory over Fassifern, West End co-captain Ray Garrett has a simple message for his rugby league teammates.

"Don't panic is my main talk to the boys,'' Garrett said.

"When things don't start going our way then just relax and go back to basics.

"The game plan is going to work. That's what it comes down to and just believe in ourselves.''

Such words of wisdom are just what West End's youth-laden team need as they return to Daniel's Park on Saturday afternoon hoping to secure back-to-back A-Grade wins.

Last Sunday, the Bulldogs could easily have thrown away a winning advantage at Hayes Oval. It was only a late try that secured West End's breakthrough 20-18 win after letting Fassifern take the lead with about seven minutes left.

Being one of the self-confessed old heads with West End this year, Garrett was keen to build on the winning feeling.

"We consider ourselves a good chance in getting a win at the weekend,'' he said of beating Swifts in the 5pm encounter.

"We've sort of been building up since round one and we finally put it together against Fassifern.''

Garrett and co-captain Kelepi Faukafa have vital roles steadying the team and inspiring confidence.

"Once you build on a win and get used to winning, it's a good habit to get into,'' Garrett said.

"Jae (coach Jae Woodward) has given us a structure that all the boys have sort of bought into. And it's just believing in that and knowing when things get a bit tough on the field that we just go back to it and know that we can win the game if we just stick to our structure.''

Garrett also wants West End to leave a lasting impression on their opponents.

"We've had a great attitude in our defence lately,'' the halfback said. "One thing we've been trying to pride ourselves on is if they come up against West End, we want them to know on Sunday they had a game of footy last night.''

Originally from Rockhampton, Garrett played in the Queensland Cup for the Central Queensland Comets before moving south. He joined West End after playing rugby union with Souths.

Garrett now has a senior leadership role he's enjoying.

"It's been good with Kelepi there as well,'' Garrett said of having the second-rower supporting him.

"He's the younger bloke and we've got a fairly young team and he knows a lot of younger fellas.

"I'm just a bit of an old head really.''