Bulldogs coach plays down tough NRL run - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs coach plays down tough NRL run

By Steve Jancetic 11/05/2009 04:29:54 PM Comments (0)

Having talked up the prospect of a 'measuring stick' month just over a week ago, Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore is now doing his best to play down the significance of Friday night's top of the table blockbuster with St George Illawarra.

Despite having the weekend off courtesy of the bye, the Bulldogs assumed sole ownership of top spot on the NRL ladder after fellow top four sides the Dragons, Gold Coast and Brisbane all lost their round nine encounters.

Those results set up a mouthwatering one versus two encounter between the Bulldogs and the Dragons at WIN Jubilee Oval on Friday night, the match between the fierce local rivals a likely sell-out with just under 4,000 tickets still available.

Following the clash with the Dragons, the Bulldogs face fellow finals contenders Melbourne and Newcastle before enjoying their second bye of the season.

After the bye they travel to Suncorp Stadium to take on the Broncos.

The five-week run is in stark contrast to the opening eight rounds when the only top eight sides they faced were Gold Coast and Penrith, prompting Moore to speculate that the schedule would be a fairer indication of his side's progress.

"To be fair, if you look at the top of the competition table we haven't played those teams at the top, so that's going to be a good measuring stick for us," Moore said after the round eight win over Wests Tigers.

But just over a week later, the rookie Bulldogs coach was belting out a different tune as he talked down the importance of the tough run following Bulldogs training on Monday.

"Every week is a test in the NRL, certainly St George have been really good so we know it's going to be a big game and we're going to have to play to our best to be well in the game," Moore said.

"If you're not at your top week-in week-out in this competition you're going to get you pants pulled down.

"We're only focused on this week - you can only jump the hurdles as they come to you."

Moore said he rated the Dragons highly despite their 24-20 loss to North Queensland on Saturday night, the red and whites with five players backing up from representative fixtures the night before and another batch sidelined by injury.

Ben Creagh (ankle), Beau Scott (elbow) and Jeremy Smith (ankle) are all expected to be back for Friday night's heritage round meeting with the Dogs.

"Everyone seen how well (the Dragons) have played, their defence is outstanding," Moore said.

"We've just got to really aim up, we're going to have a really good preparation, we're probably fairly fresh after having the weekend off so there's no excuses for us."

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