Canterbury rediscover their spine - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Canterbury rediscover their spine

Steve Jancetic 25/06/2011 01:29:01 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury have finally rediscovered their spine, and under-fire coach Kevin Moore hopes the reunification of his playmaking quartet can breathe life back into the Bulldogs' spluttering NRL campaign.

The `Dogs returned to the NRL top eight with a gritty 16-6 win over Wests Tigers on Friday night, a victory built on the back of solid contributions from fullback Ben Barba, halves Kris Keating and Trent Hodkinson as well as NSW Origin hooker Michael Ennis.

Injuries, suspension and representative commitments meant Friday night's contest was just the second time in the last six weeks that all four have been on the park at the same time.

It's a stretch in which the blue and whites had won only one other game - which also happened to be the only other time all four played together against Gold Coast in round 12.

"When you lose your seven or your nines - like we did last week (when) we were missing both - you're going to struggle," Moore said.

"Occasionally you can get away with it but when you're not in the best of form like we have been over the past month ... it's going to hurt you."

Moore singled out the return of Ennis as especially significant.

"Our one, six and seven are all relatively young, particularly when you're talking first grade experience ... when you've got Mick around, I think they feel comfortable," Moore said.

"He certainly gives them some really good direction and a bit of confidence.

"When he's not there, you're going to have some good games, you're going to have some bad games, but that's what developing young talent in the NRL is all about.

"We're still at that level as a club."

Ennis, who took man of the match honours, felt indebted to his teammates to put in a good show.

He didn't let them down as he punched out a gut-busting 53 tackles.

"It's always nice to come back to where it all started," Ennis said.

"I'm pretty grateful for the form that the boys turned on at the start of the year, it probably got me into the Blues jumper, its nice to come back after a successful week with Origin.

"It was a real test tonight - you've got Origin in the back of your mind and you're up against a very good footy side that can test you for 80 minutes.

"Personally I wanted to challenge myself this week to make sure I stayed focused on the Bulldogs because I owed it to the boys after missing last week and where we're at as a club."

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