Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa won't accept talk his side are undeserving of their current top-four standing on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder.
The Bulldogs have won six of their past seven games but were criticised in the wake of their 36-0 loss to reigning premiers North Queensland three weeks ago.
THERE will be no love lost when they Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs clash with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium.
Lichaa was the first to admit the Bulldogs' past two wins over the Dragons and Knights haven't been inspiring, but the 23-year-old insisted their recent run of wins was enough to prove the Bulldogs' premiership credentials.
"I've heard some people say that maybe we don't deserve to be there because we're not playing good enough which is confusing because we're still winning games," Lichaa said.
"Some were complaining because we didn't beat the Knights by 30 or 40 points but you have to remember they had Jarrod Mullen back, and they almost beat the Storm and Raiders in weeks past.
"You throw Mullen into their team on a rainy day, and sure we didn't play our best, but we still won."
Lichaa conceded that the Bulldogs weren't up to the level of the competition benchmark Melbourne but was quick to point out his club haven't lost to the Storm since 2013 (six -consecutive wins).
"I think we deserve to be where we're at currently. Obviously when you're in the top four, you need to win the games to get there. The good teams find a way to win," Lichaa said.
"We're probably not where the benchmark Melbourne are at the moment but we have beaten them this year too so we know we’re up there with the top teams."
David Klemmer backed his teammate Lichaa and didn't concern himself with others' opinions.
"What happens at this facility here is what matters. If anyone wants to make remarks, it doesn't worry us. This is our job and this is our family," Klemmer said.
"Whatever happens outside of this club, we don't really care. We're winning football games and we're trying to build confidence at the same time.
"It's starting to get exciting now because semi-final time is coming and we're really trying to enjoy the moment."
Meanwhile the Bulldogs will wear their multicultural jersey against the Sea Eagles on Thursday night.
In the club's efforts to promote social inclusion, the team will wear a jersey bearing the flags that represent the Bulldogs' diverse heritage.
"We have a pretty big mix of heritages in our team. Obviously around the Belmore area, it's very multicultural so it's awesome for the club and it means a lot to the boys," Lichaa said.
"We have all of the Island nations covered here, I'm half-Lebanese, Josh Reynolds is half-Lebanese - well he thinks he is. I think big Klemmer is German and Moses [Mbye] is from Africa which is awesome."