The Bulldogs head to ANZ Stadium on Thursday night to do battle with rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Both sides come into the clash with their finals hopes dashed and for the two clubs it has been a tough season.
The Bulldogs under the guidance of Des Hasler have been in the finals since 2012 and with only four weeks of the home and away season remaining, Hasler knows his side owes it to their fans to finish the season strongly.
“Both sides are in a very similar situation and we really want to finish off the season well. Both sides owe it to their fans, but the great thing about it is that the rivalry between the two sides is very significant – particularly the forward packs and that should continue on Thursday night,” said Hasler.
Both sides sit on the NRL ladder on 18 competition points and it’s surreal to think that only three years ago the two teams battled it out for the premiership, a position neither team accepts.
“We are in a position that neither club wants to be in, but that’s the reality of it. We have just got to make every game and every play a real positive,” added Hasler.
Des also addressed why he thinks the Bulldogs have missed the finals this year.
“I think we haven’t executed as well as we could in given situations, I don’t think we have managed possession well, but that doesn’t underlie the effort that the players have been displaying. I’m super pleased with the effort they’re giving, particularly in defence,” Hasler said.
“At the end of the day we have to be realistic about it and look at results. To not get the results you take into consideration the close losses we have had this year. At times we haven’t been able to get across the line. The players are really disappointed and it hurts that we aren’t playing finals.”