Matt Encarnacion, Western Sydney Correspondent
Bulldogs ring-in Mitch Brown hopes to bounce back from what he described as his worst performance of the season when his side travels to Melbourne this weekend.
Playing with a halves pairing of second-rowers Josh Jackson and Tony Williams, the Bulldogs put on one of their bravest performances of the season in a 23-16 thriller against Manly last Friday night.
And it was Brown who was most relieved to secure the two competition points, after his error-riddled outing – including a spilt bomb in the clutch that allowed Manly to level the scores at 16-all – almost cost his team the game.
"It wasn't a good feeling. I base my game off very minimal errors and I pretty much made 40 per cent of my errors all year in one game so I was filthy, you know?" Brown told NRL.com.
"I seemed to have caught the hard ones and dropped the easy ones. It was just a bit of a mis-jump, but the boys backed me all the way and pulled through with a win for us."
Indeed, it was skipper Michael Ennis who potted over the decisive field goal minutes later, before also crossing for the match-sealing try on the final play of the game.
"As you could imagine, I was more stressed than everyone else. We needed to win. So when he got that field goal, I was still a bit worried. But it certainly helped," he said.
"And when I see big Tim Browne with his big legs running through the middle of the field, I was pretty happy."
It was only Brown's second game at fullback since regular No.1 Sam Perrett suffered a knee injury three weeks ago, and he admitted it has taken him time to adjust to the role.
"Error-wise, it was one of my worst [games]. I'm not the flashiest player in the world but I consider myself someone who can get the job done. I usually have very minimal errors. That's my game. And just to make silly mistakes, the way I did, I was disappointed," he said.
"But in saying that, I thought I played well other than the silly mistakes I made. It's still about getting the transition to fullback and getting used to the plays and positional work. Just trying to balance it at the moment."
While the former Wests Tiger labelled the victory over Manly as one of the Bulldogs' best this year, he was adamant they need to improve against a Storm side that will look to make a move post-Origin.
"That win would be up there, definitely. We lifted to another level, I thought. And I think that's set a bar for the rest of the year," he said.
"But in saying that, attack-wise, we've still got a lot of improvement. There's always improvement in defence. There's still a long way to go. There's still 10 weeks left in the comp."