Bulldogs: The run home...

After picking up the spoon last year, there can be no doubting that the Bulldogs have gone from the doghouse to the penthouse in season 2009. <br><br>They began by recruiting well. Brett Kimmorley, Ben Hannant, Michael Ennis, David Stagg and Josh Morris were all established stars, then they picked up Greg Eastwood cheaply after he was refused entry to the UK. Even their calculated risks came off as Bryson Goodwin came of age and is currently second in line breaks in the NRL with 17 and some hulking kid by the name of Jamal Idris showed the league world he is a star of the present and the future.<br><br>From there they began to put it together on the field, storming out of the blocks in season 2009 by defeating defending premiers Manly at home, and if it weren’t for an interchange breach, which had no effect on the game in round 2 against the Panthers, they would be on equal points with St George Illawarra and a better chance of claiming the minor premiership.<br><br>The Dogs are going from strength to strength and with Brett Kimmorley and cohorts like Luke Patten, David Stagg (Stagg leads the NRL in tackles made with 744), Josh Morris, Ben Roberts and Bryson Goodwin in the form of their careers, anything could happen for the boys from Belmore <br><b><br>The run home:</b> Eels (H), Rabbitohs (A), Raiders (H), Cowboys (A), Roosters (H), Warriors (H), Wests Tigers (A).<br><br>As if the Dogs needed things any easier, they have one of the best runs home in the NRL. They are fully capable of winning every single one of those games, with the toughest being the round 20 clash with archrivals Parramatta and the trip to Townsville in round 23.<br><br>Their biggest worry is actually tackling the monstrous Warriors just two weeks out from the NRL finals. It’s no secret the big Warriors forwards leave teams hurting whether they win or lose and on the eve of finals injuries would be the last thing the Bulldogs want or need.<br><br><b>Players to Watch:</b><br><b>Ben Hannant </b>– The Bulldogs have been managing to win without the man most likely to take the mantle of the games best front rower when Petero Civoniceva retires, but watch them go when Hannant returns to the fray. He is a workhorse, never quits and gives Ennis the ability to move the ball quickly out of dummy half and Kimmorley and Roberts the time to execute plays. <br><br><b>Ben Roberts </b>– At the beginning of the year we highlighted Roberts in our X Factor series, suggesting if he could gel with Kimmorley and play a bit role for the Dogs that he might well show all his talents. Well the Dogs number 6 has not disappointed, coming of age in season 2009 and showing he is more than just a flash in the pan. If things aren’t working on Noddy’s side of the field, Roberts has proven he can execute plays in attack. His willingness to run the ball is causing nightamres for all before him. Just ask the Broncos, he dominated them in round 14.<br><br><b>Predicted Finish: </b>2nd