Fight for places keeps Dogs keen - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fight for places keeps Dogs keen

By Steve Jancetic 07/08/2009 06:51:58 PM Comments (0)

Competition for spots in the 17-man squad will ensure the Bulldogs finish the NRL regular season strongly, according to their captain Andrew Ryan.

The Bulldogs are cruising towards a top-two finish, but Ryan said there was little chance of any player slackening off given the lure of finals football.

"We weren't in this position last year, we struggled a fair bit, so for us to be around there and be competitive every week ... we've got a good squad of 22 guys vying for positions at the moment everyone's on their toes and trying to play their best in the next five games leading into the semis," Ryan said.

"All the teams that we play in the last five rounds had a win on the weekend ... we need to steel ourselves for a big task over the last five rounds."

No team looked more impressive last weekend than Canberra, who the Bulldogs host at ANZ Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Raiders put 56 unanswered points past Brisbane last weekend, the young green machine revelling after the pressure of walking the finals tightrope was lifted.

"They'd take a lot of confidence out of last weekend - they scored 56 points," Ryan said.

"They've been a little bit up and down this season Canberra, but the young guys in that team will get heaps of confidence - it's going to be a big challenge defensively."

That challenge got a little easier on Friday with news NSW Origin forward Tom Learoyd-Lahrs would not be in the Raiders pack.

Learoyd-Lahrs attempted to train on Friday in a bid to prove he had overcome a knee injury, but a Raiders official said the giant backrower was at least another week away, with Canberra to go into the game against the Bulldogs as named on Tuesday.

The Bulldogs held a closed session on Friday after being given a rare opportunity to train on their home ground, ANZ Stadium.

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