Bulldogs' comeback no surprise to coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs' comeback no surprise to coach

By Steve Jancetic 05/08/2009 06:07:19 PM Comments (0)

He's turned last year's wooden spooners into a premiership force, but rookie coach Kevin Moore claims the Bulldogs' stunning NRL resurgence hasn't come as a surprise.

The dismal form of 2008 has become a distant memory for the blue and whites, with the club sitting comfortably in second spot just weeks out from the finals.

Few would have thought such a scenario possible 12 months ago, but a new coach, some new talent and the return from injury of the likes of fullback Luke Patten have the Bulldogs eyeing a run at the title.

"To be sitting where we are at the moment is pleasing, but it doesn't surprise me when you look at the talent we have available," Moore said.

"I always thought we'd be competitive and that's the only expectation I put on us."

Two points ahead of third-placed Gold Coast and facing a favourable run over the back end of the season, it has been suggested Moore could rest some of his battle weary stars in the run into the finals.

But if the likes of Patten or fellow veterans Andrew Ryan and Hazem El Masri - who have played all 19 games so far this year - were hoping for a rest, they'd better think again with Moore to use the last five rounds to fine-tune his side's finals game-plan.

"No, I'm not a huge believer in that," Moore said of resting players.

"They're professional athletes and the last thing they want to do is having a week off leading into the important time of the year.

"When you're a month away from finals and you've only got five games to go we're making sure that our preparation is really intensifying leading up to the back end of the year.

"This time of year you're looking to try and make sure you're at your best and improving and building momentum."

The Bulldogs face a Canberra side on Sunday boosted by their 56-0 thrashing of Brisbane last week.

It was those types of scorelines which marred the Bulldogs' 2008 season, but rugged prop Jarrad Hickey said the disappointment of last season was not being used as motivation for this year's campaign.

"I've forgotten about most of last year, it was a bad year but I don't think I'm really doing it for last year," Hickey said.

"I'm excited about finals football coming up, it's the best position I've been in since I've come into first grade and I know a lot of the other blokes as well it will probably be their best chance at getting to the big one."

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