We had to win that one: Mbye
Nothing needed to be said at training but Bulldogs five-eighth Moses Mbye said the entire squad knew that Friday night's blockbuster against the Broncos was one they simply had to win to keep their premiership hopes alive.
Facing the prospect of dropping as low as 11th on the ladder by the end of Round 22 should they lose to the competition leaders at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, the Bulldogs fought back from 10-0 down to win 18-16 and stay entrenched in the top eight for at least another week.
With games against the Titans (Central Coast Stadium), Rabbitohs (ANZ Stadium), Knights (Hunter Stadium) and Warriors (ANZ Stadium) to come over the final month of the regular season, the Bulldogs are within reach of a home final in Week One of the Telstra Premiership Finals Series, a task made slightly easier by their gutsy win over Brisbane.
"It was the elephant in the room that we needed that game, we had to win it pretty much," Mbye told NRL.com.
"Everyone knew that. No one wanted to say it but at the end of the day the boys are pumped, I'm sure Des (Hasler, Bulldogs coach) is happy with the win and it's two points that we really needed.
"This week was a good week, there's no doubt but I think we took a lot of confidence out of our loss to the Roosters as well.
"We lost but I think we put in a pretty good performance last week and we drew a lot of confidence out of that game and brought it up here to Brisbane."
Mbye was forced to shift from five-eighth into dummy-half for the final 20 minutes of the game after hooker Michael Lichaa suffered a knee injury, an ailment coach Des Hasler expects could keep him sidelined for a fortnight.
Having come in as Michael Ennis's replacement in last year's grand final loss to South Sydney it's a role not completely unfamiliar to the Noosa junior but Mbye believes there is sufficient depth at the club for Hasler to call up a regular hooker in Lichaa's absence.
"We're a club with great depth, I'm sure Des has got a plan up his sleeve," Mbye said.
"We've got a couple of boys running around in the NSW Cup also if I don't get called upon. Damien Cook is there who could easily slot in and there are a handful of blokes quite competent at playing the hooker role at NRL level."
Although he is in only his first full season of first grade, Lichaa is one of only two Bulldogs players to have played in all 20 games in 2015 and has regularly played 80 minutes.
Having racked up 47 tackles in 60 minutes against the Broncos Lichaa is currently sitting second on the NRL list of top tacklers and his former Junior Kangaroos teammate says he will be a difficult man to replace.
"I've known Michael actually for quite a few years, we played juniors together, and his maturity has gone through the roof," said Mbye, who will turn 22 next Thursday.
"He's at a great club and in a great system and if you're going to grow in this game, for him, it's the club to do it at.
"Obviously losing Michael Ennis was a massive hole in our team, he's such a great player and a leader but Michael Lichaa has just slotted right in.
"He takes everything on board with what we're about, he's got a great work ethic, he's willing to learn and as you can see he pushes himself to the boundaries."
This article first appeared on NRL.com