'Dogs confident Halatau can help grab win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Dogs confident Halatau can help grab win

By Russell Jackson and Steve Jancetic 01/07/2011 05:24:29 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury NRL coach Kevin Moore has backed Dene Halatau to finally deliver something the Bulldogs have yet to achieve in 2011 - win a game without Michael Ennis.

The blue and whites have lost both games the NSW hooker has missed this season, and will be without him again against Penrith on Saturday night with Ennis in camp ahead of State of Origin III.

Moore said former Kiwi international Halatau is a more than capable replacement, with the Bulldogs looking to build on last week's win over Wests Tigers.

"Dean's an experienced bloke. He's played Test football for New Zealand and he played quite a lot of number nine at the Tigers and he'll do the job for us," Moore said.

"After three or four weeks of some patchy form, I thought we came up with a really good performance against the Tigers last week.

"It's been a good week. We're without Mick (Ennis) with Origin duties but the rest of the team is ready to go."

The win over the Tigers eased some pressure on the Bulldogs, who had won just one of their previous six games heading into the match.

It was enough to lift the Bulldogs into the top eight, with Moore confident his side can get back on track and confirm a finals berth.

"I always thought being a new side and we've got some young halves ... I've always said that the back end of the year would be when we start playing our best footy," Moore said.

"It's just about putting in good back-to-back performances and being strong against the Panthers.

"When you're inconsistent, you always have concerns but I thought the performance last week was really strong and the Tigers were pretty good. They're a dangerous side even without Benji (Marshall)."

The Panthers have endured another tumultuous week with interim coach Steve Georgallis' future thrown into doubt with the signing of Ivan Cleary as coach for 2012.

Georgallis won on his coaching debut against North Queensland last weekend, but it wasn't enough to secure him the long-term position.

"Their players, with a new coach coming on board, are going to be really keen to impress and (they're) still in with a really good chance of making the eight, so there's a lot for them to play for," Moore said.

The match will pit Penrith juniors Steve Turner and Frank Pritchard against their former clubs, with Turner impressed by the Panthers' last-start effort against the Cowboys.

"Last week, they really embraced Steve (Georgallis) being on board and with Ivan (Cleary) coming there next year, I'm sure the players will want to finish off well for Steve this year," Turner said.

"It's like a homecoming for myself and Frankie Pritchard, who was there for a number of years.

"Frank and I both played juniors out there together. It's a bit of a homecoming and I've got plenty of family and friends coming out to watch."

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