Bulldogs face day of reckoning - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs face day of reckoning

Joe Barton 03/06/2011 04:44:24 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury face a day of reckoning as their NRL title hopes go under the microscope on Saturday night, with Kevin Moore's men desperate to arrest a worrying run of losses to the NRL's top premiership contenders.

Having come into the 2011 season with high expectations on the back of a fruitful off-season that saw the arrival of several big names, the Bulldogs have struggled to reach their full potential.

Of greatest concern for Moore and his troops is a perceived inability to compete with the NRL's elite, with five of their six victories coming against the competition's bottom six teams.

At the other end of the scale, all four of the Bulldogs' matches against top six teams have resulted in losses.

Included in that group are heavy losses to Melbourne (30-16) and St George Illawarra (25-6) in rounds four and five.

Moore admits there is no avoiding the damning statistics and believes a match-up with the third-placed Sea Eagles presents the perfect opportunity to silence some critics.

"The facts are there I suppose," Moore said on Friday.

"Once again, that's another test for us against a side that's doing really well.

"I think it's an important game. Manly are obviously travelling really well at the moment.

"... They've had eight wins and three losses, so I think the record suggests that they've been pretty consistent right across the board.

"They're a good team, they're well coached and they've got a lot of good players. We have to be at our best."

After quickly integrating their new signings and jumping out of the blocks with three quick wins, the Bulldogs have fallen back into the pack with five losses over the following two months - a trend star centre Josh Morris wants to stop before next weekend's bye.

"We're going not too bad, obviously we would have liked to have a couple more wins against those top four sides," Morris said.

"But in saying that we're happy with where we are sitting and if we can get a win before the bye it means it's a four-point game for us."

With Manly announcing themselves as one of the NRL's form teams following last week's demolition job on Brisbane, Moore conceded his squad had a tough task taking care of the Sea Eagles' attacking core of Brett Stewart, Jamie Lyon and Kieran Foran.

"I think it's a general thing, you've got to be good defensively right across the park," Moore explained.

"If you worry about one or two individuals you're going to get caught out somewhere else."

Meanwhile, Foran said the manner in which the Bulldogs dismantled Gold Coast in last week's 28-6 victory over the cellar-dwellers proved they were on their way back to their best.

"They have (struck some form), they've been very strong this season," Foran told Sky Sport's radio's Big Sports Breakfast.

"They've played some strong teams and they've won and their game against the Titans was a clear indication that they're the real deal.

"I think we're going to have our work cut out for us this Saturday."

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