Our Road to the Top 8
With five weeks remaining until the 2015 finals series begins, Bulldogs.com.au takes a look at our current situation and other teams around the bottom half of the top eight.
The Bulldogs sit in eighth position on 22 points alongside the Dragons on 22 in seventh and the Warriors in 9th also on 22 points, while the Sharks are in fifth on 26 and the Storm in sixth on 24 points.
The Bulldogs have a negative point differential of two, while the Dragons have a positive point differential of 10 and the Warriors who sit in ninth are negative 21.
Two teams in tenth and eleventh position respectively, who are still in contention for the finals are the Canberra Raiders (+8) and the Manly Sea Eagles (-18) who both have 20 points.
This time last year, the Bulldogs were on 26 points heading into their round 22 clash against the Broncos and unfortunately the Bulldogs went down 41-10 and only managed to win two of their last eight games to secure seventh spot in the top eight on 30 points.
The Bulldogs went on to beat the Melbourne Storm, the Manly Sea Eagles and the Penrith Panthers to advance to the 2014 Grand Final, but fell short against the best team all year, the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Bulldogs final five games consist of two against top four sides, two against two of the bottom three teams and their final regular season game is against the New Zealand Warriors.
The first of the Bulldogs final five games will see them travel to Suncorp Stadium to tackle the ladder leading Brisbane Broncos and with 22 points next to their name, the Bulldogs will need to win at least three, if not four of their final five games to secure a spot in the finals.
The Bulldogs have lost their last four against the Broncos and have not defeated them on their home soil since round 14 of the 2009 season when a double each from Josh Morris, Bryson Goodwin and Hazem El Masri sealed a 44-22 victory.
Round 23 will see the Bulldogs host the Gold Coast Titans, a team well out of contention for finals, but a bogey team for the Bulldogs who have only managed to win one of their past five games against the Neil Henry led side.
Round 24 the Bulldogs head to ANZ Stadium for a clash with premiership contender the Rabbitohs who have defeated the Bulldogs in four of the past five clashes between the two sides.
Round 25 is a trip up the freeway for the Bulldogs with a clash against the Newcastle Knights who currently sit in 16th position.
The Knights have sacked their coach Rick Stone and have appointed Danny Buderus as caretaker for the remainder of the season.
The Knights final home game of the season is always dedicated to their past players and no doubt after the season they have had they will be looking to celebrate their final home game with a win.
The Bulldogs record against the Knights stands at two wins from the past five and six wins from the past 18 visits to Newcastle.
Three from five, or four from five is very achievable, but a win this week against the best team all year will help the Bulldogs stay within the eight and push to play finals footy.
This weekend will also feature games that will have an impact on the top eight.
The Warriors host the Dragons, the Sharks host the Cowboys, Manly host the Rabbitohs and the Raiders host the Wests Tigers in Canberra.
THE RUN HOME:
Sharks: Cowboys, Storm, Tigers, Eels, Manly
Storm: Titans, Sharks, Knights, Cowboys, Broncos
Dragons: Warriors, Broncos, Panthers, Titans, Tigers
Bulldogs: Broncos, Titans, Rabbitohs, Knights, Warriors
Warriors: Dragons, Panthers, Cowboys, Tigers, Bulldogs
Raiders: Tigers, Manly, Titans, Panthers, Eels
Manly: Rabbitohs, Raiders, Eels, Roosters, Sharks