The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs head to Bankwest Stadium on Thursday night full of confidence having won their past three matches.
The Bulldogs recent form has seen them defeat the Panthers, Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers, all teams vying for spots in the top eight.
Their opponents this week, the Parramatta Eels, currently sit in sixth position on 28 points locked in a battle for a top four spot with South Sydney and Manly.
It’s a battle between two of Sydney’s biggest clubs, a rivalry that stems back to the 80s and Eels coach Brad Arthur has kept a close eye on the Dogs over recent weeks.
“They’ve really improved since the start of the year. They’re playing typical Bulldogs fashion. Tough, grinding performances, playing right to death, 80 minutes, but it’s exactly what we need. We need to come to the game knowing we’re going to be tested. We’re excited to play a team that’s won three in a row,” Arthur added.
Pay: We're moving in the right direction
The two sides met earlier in the year in round two and it was a victory for the blue and gold, but since the bye in round 16 Canterbury have claimed four victories from their six matches, with each of these wins highlighted by the team’s attitude towards defence.
This area of their game has been a real focal point for the playing group and staff, and from the coaches view it’s pleasing to see the hard work and effort be rewarded.
“Over the last six or seven weeks, we have made some good progression. We got to a really good level last week. We defended well and I think we only missed 17 tackles. That’s been the cornerstone of us winning a few games on the trot. We just want more of the same this week,” said Dean Pay.
Pay’s men go into the contest having won five of their past seven matches and currently sit in 13th place on the ladder, one point behind the Warriors and two behind the Wests Tigers and Knights.
Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton GuthersonFullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika SivoWinger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Meaney
Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael JenningsCentre for Bulldogs is number 3 Kerrod Holland
Centre for Eels is number 4 Waqa BlakeCentre for Bulldogs is number 4 Will Hopoate
Winger for Eels is number 5 Brad TakairangiWinger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis Smith
Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan BrownFive-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Kieran Foran
Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell MosesHalfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Lachlan Lewis
Prop for Eels is number 8 Kane EvansProp for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden Tolman
Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed MahoneyHooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior PauloProp for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan Napa
2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Manu Ma'u2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Corey Harawira-Naera
Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan BrownLock for Bulldogs is number 13 Adam Elliott
Interchange for Eels is number 15 David GowerInterchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Jack Cogger
Interchange for Eels is number 16 Daniel AlvaroInterchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Renouf Toomaga
Interchange for Eels is number 17 Marata NiukoreInterchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
Interchange for Eels is number 18 Tepai MoeroaInterchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Chris Smith
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Referee: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Video Referee: Bryan Norrie
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein