Fullback Will Hopoate says the Bulldogs haven't done enough to be rated NRL premiership contenders despite winning their past three matches.
After an indifferent start to the season, the Bulldogs have moved into the top four off the back of three good wins and while the confidence is growing within the playing group, the test for the Bulldogs comes this week in the shape of the Wests Tigers who will be minus three of their stars.
“There is confidence growing here and it’s come off the back of a few good wins,” said Hopoate
“There are four points on the line this week with the bye next weekend. It’s another big week for us.”
After an indifferent start to the season, the Bulldogs have moved into the top four after winning their past three matches.
But despite the impressive mid-season surge, Hopoate still believes there’s a gap between the Bulldogs and teams like Cronulla, Melbourne and North Queensland.
“Coming towards the back end of the season, it’s been a goal of ours to stay with the top teams.
“Cronulla and Melbourne are still a bit away from us, but were working towards being the best we can and hopefully we can stay in the top four come round 26.”
In recent years, the Bulldogs have made a habit of performing at the business end of the year and while it’s not in the coaching plans of Coach Des Hasler, Hopoate says the importance of winning and claiming two points becomes more significant.
“Coming towards the back end of the season, the games start to take on more meaning and the two points become more valuable.
“With that responsibility, the boys do their best to step up to the plate.”
The Bulldogs will host the Wests Tigers this weekend at ANZ Stadium and with both sides set to be missing key personal to Origin, the focus and disruption will not change for the Bulldogs who will be looking to make it four wins in a row when they step onto the field on Saturday night.
“Both teams are missing key players, but that’s no excuse for us to not come out and play our best footy.”