Perrett hungrier than ever for a premiership
Retiring veteran Sam Perrett says a maiden premiership would be the perfect way to farewell his glittering rugby league career.
The Bulldogs winger has played 255 NRL matches and has represented New Zealand on 21 occasions but has never celebrated a victory on grand final day.
The 31-year-old former Rooster has been in terrific form at club level in 2016 and looked capable of adding to his 13 seasons in the NRL, but instead announced that this year would be his last.
Perrett said he and his wife had spoken about whether or not now was the right time to call an end to his career, and while there were some doubts he knew deep down that retirement was the best decision.
"There was one point, and for me it was after the Cowboys game (the Bulldogs lost 36-0 in Round 20). It wasn't because we got flogged, but it just became clear to me," Perrett said of the moment he realised he had to retire.
"I'd been wrestling with it for a few months and quite a few weeks before that moment. There were several different things that made sense to me.
"The passion and the desire that I have for the building industry and my company that I've got outside of football was one.
"My body slowing down… there's the fact that I wanted to finish on top. I wanted to leave a good mark and finish my career on a high. I know we've got the team that can win this competition so I wanted to give everything I could while I can.
"I didn't want to hang around too long and start slowing down and not pull my weight for the team anymore.
"There'll be a flicker of questioning whether I can keep going, but it's been good and I don't think I'm going to regret this decision at all. It's been an amazing ride and I want to finish on top."
The former Kiwis international has achieved just about everything there is in the game, but is still chasing an elusive premiership ring.
Perrett has come close on three occasions, playing in grand finals in 2010, 2012 and 2014, but the 31-year-old tasted defeat on all three occasions.
Having played in a decider every two years, history suggests he's due for another shot at glory this season and according to the man himself the Bulldogs are building nicely for a third grand final in five years.
The blue and whites are poised to finish inside the Telstra Premiership top four for the first time since 2012 and with matches against last year's grand finalists to come in the next two weeks, the Bulldogs look set to have the ideal run in to this year's finals series.
"I've been in three already and haven't got the prize yet. I guess the fire has burned brighter and brighter every time I've been on that stage," Perrett said.
"I've got all faith in this team that we've got at the moment that we can win this competition. It's there for the taking and that's all I'm aiming for and looking for at the moment.
"Preferably we'd like to have momentum going into the finals. It's such a key thing going into these games. Either way, I know we've got the talent and the team to be able to do this.
"We've got a good test in the next month so I think it'll be a perfect way to see where we're at. We all know that when it gets to the finals it goes to another level with the football."