Bulldogs Weary of Fire in the Dragons Pack
Despite an unconvincing finish to the year, the Bulldogs are not taking the Dragons lightly as they go head to head in an Elimination Final on Saturday night.
The Red V come into the finals with four wins from their last eight matches but the only wins they have mustered in recent times have been against teams outside the top eight.
The Bulldogs and Dragons have played twice this year with a win apiece, but the Bulldogs have won the previous five clashes dating back to 2012.
Despite the form guide Bulldogs back rower Josh Jackson says his side are not taking the Dragons lightly.
'On any given day the bottom placed team can beat the top placed team,' Jackson said.
'We're one and one with them this year, they got us the first time we played and it was pretty tight the second time.'
With English pivot Gareth Widdop looking unlikely to play this weekend, the Dragons forward pack becomes more vital for their chances of progressing.
'They’ve got a pretty experienced pack, there are guys in there who have played for their State or Country.'
'Guys like Trent Merrin and Ben Creagh have been there (finals). If we can stop their go-forward, particularly early on, then we will have every opportunity to put on points.'
The Dragons pack also boasts the likes of Tyson Frizzell who ran amuck on the edges earlier this season in the Dragons win over the Bulldogs.
Like the Bulldogs they also feature a bit of English brawn with Mike Cooper.
The former Warrington prop came a bit less heralded than James Graham but has shown he can not only keep up in the NRL but become one of the leaders in the Dragons pack.
'They got the Cooper’s and the Merrin’s who lead from the front,' David Klemmer said.
'They're a quality forward pack, they've been playing well all season.'
The Bulldogs enforcer believes getting stuck into the Dragons pack will boost his sides chances of a win this weekend.
'We’ve got to put our bodies in front of them and try to stop their momentum.’
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