Sam Kasiano has really lifted his game over the back end of the season, since locking down a starting position in the Bulldogs forward pack he has rewarded Des Hasler's faith with some stellar performances on the field.
'He's really come out performing for us,' said fellow Kiwi Greg Eastwood. 'Him starting might of been the spark that he needed.'
Kasiano has started every game since the Bulldogs win up in Brisbane, it could arguably be the prior game against the Roosters where he turned his season around.
Kasiano came on to the field with the Bulldogs down 22-0, he took it to the Roosters pack with some inspired hit ups and a number of offloads.
The Bulldogs pegged the score back to within a converted try at half-time and unfortunately could not go all the way to defeat the now minor premiers.
Origin back rower Josh Jackson has been impressed with his former under 20's teammate.
'He's been playing really good footy big Sammy, he has got a little more consistency in his game,' Jackson said.
While Kasiano has been able to limit his errors, he still continues to be a threat with the ball, he can offload at will and his ability to move the ball adds another dimension to his game.
'He is a halfback playing in a front rowers body,' Jackson added.
'He's always mucking around with the footy, kicking the ball around...I don't think he has his kicking license yet though.'
Greg Eastwood puts his turnaround down to a better diet and exercise regime.
'It must be a lifestyle change, he's just had another baby,' Eastwood said.
'The trainers been on his back, always got him doing extras. He has probably had enough of that and (now) watches what he eats.'
The Bulldogs will need Sam's unorthodox style of play to threaten the Dragons defence this Saturday.
The Red V are susceptible to second phase play but have a tough pack that features a few rep players.
The Bulldogs and Dragons will clash in the first of the elimination finals for 2015 on Saturday afternoon.
Bitter rivals for decades, this game has a lot more to it than just progressing to week two of the finals.
The winner will head into week two, whilst the loser will bow out of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership finals series.
The ledger is even for 2015, with both teams scoring a victory in two fiercely competitive matches.
Who will hold the advantage for 2015 and progress?
WORDS: Eddie Webeck