Canterbury’s NRL season was rescued by the Bulldogs’ 18-16 win over local rivals Parramatta, admits skipper Michael Ennis.
Canterbury skipper Michael Ennis claims Friday’s 18-16 win over Parramatta breathed new life into the Bulldogs’ faltering NRL season.
Having topped the ladder six weeks ago, Des Hasler’s side had slumped to eighth spot ahead of the Eels game and defeat would have sent them tumbling out of the top eight.
But the win catapulted them to sixth and victory over a broken Wests Tigers outfit on Thursday would virtually guarantee a finals spot.
“It was really important. There was a possibility of falling out of the eight had we lost,” Ennis said.
“But it was more about getting back to the footy we are capable of playing and it was a good win and a much-needed win.”
The Tigers are ravaged by injuries with eight top-line players out for the season and have conceded 110 points in their past two games.
But last month, against all odds, Mick Potter’s side put dramas surrounding their coach’s future behind them to chalk up a 46-18 success over Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.
Tigers centre Keith Lulia, who scored four tries that night, is out for the season with a broken bone in his neck.
But despite their injury woes, Ennis said that result showed the joint-venture could not be taken lightly.
“They always play really well against us and, only a month ago, they hammered us,” he said.
“The main focus from this point is to worry about ourselves. I know it’s cliched and boring, but we need to do the things right and not worry about the Tigers.”
Bulldogs prop Sam Kasiano won’t play a part in the side’s finals push after being ruled out for the rest of the year due to ankle surgery.
The New Zealand international was initially expected to sidelined for a month after suffering the injury against Brisbane two weeks ago.
But Bulldogs physio Steve McCullagh said the issue was worse than first thought.
“We can confirm we have a tentative surgery date booked for Thursday,” McCullagh told the club’s website.
“He’s done a good job with the injury and we won’t be seeing Sam again this season.”
The Bulldogs have also lost young forward Lloyd Perrett for six to eight weeks with a high-grade ankle sprain suffered in the win over Parramatta.