Moses Mbye knows there is just something about Belmore Sports Ground.
It might just be the people.
“There are so many good people at the Bulldogs and that is something I am so grateful I got to experience moving down here as a 17-year-old and coming into the Bulldogs system," Mbye said after the Dragons' win on Sunday.
“It was a different feeling in the lead-up to the game.
"I was really nervous all day today.
"The drive into the ground; you could just feel the atmosphere.”
Dragons muscle up on defence
The Dragons utility is one of the few current players with a bit of history at Belmore Sports Ground.
Sunday’s 34-24 victory over one of his former club's Canterbury was his seventh game at the blue and white’s spiritual home since they returned to play games at the footy field by the train line after a 17-year absence in 2015.
Mbye started at five-eighth in the Bulldogs’ return win at Belmore in 2015.
On Sunday, he started at hooker.
In all he has started in four different positions in his seven games at Belmore.
“Every time I think of Belmore I think of Josh Reynolds’ last game and the atmosphere and the crowd,” said Mbye, who also played his final game for the Bulldogs at Belmore in 2018 before joining the Wests Tigers mid-season.
“I love playing here. I have so many good memories.
“I told the boys it is going to be really hostile from the time you get off the bus until the time you get back on the bus.
"The only way to take the wind out of their sails was to win.”
All the typical Mbye traits were on show in the first half of a vital Dragons win ahead of the bye: an eagerness to put pressure on kickers, always scheming in the middle with ball in hand and a desire to produce quality service from the makeshift No.9 to his playmakers.
Unlike his time at the Bulldogs, he is no longer the man entrusted to make the big play. He is now the experienced campaigner there to take pressure off Ben Hunt and lend a hand by supporting the ball carrier and letting his calming voice rub off on the younger players in the squad.
When the drums were beating — literally and figuratively — as the Bulldogs took the lead early in the second half, Mbye found the perfect pass on the short side, setting up Zac Lomax who scored to retake the lead.
Lomax quickly restores Dragons lead
He followed it up with a trademark deft left foot kick to trap the Bulldogs in their own 20-metre area off the next set.
A stray arm that gave the Bulldogs a penalty on the last tackle signalled an end to his 58-minute stint on the field with the returning Andrew McCullough coming on to the field.
McCullough promptly scored, and then set up Blake Lawrie’s first try in the NRL after 91 games to seal the match.
And who was the first player to celebrate? Mouthguard in sock, ice block in hand and robe on — Mbye stalked the sideline and clapped his hands in approval.