Bulldogs a new breed in 2014: Perrett
It was around this time last year that the Bulldogs were in the middle of a stretch where they won seven games in eight weeks, including a Round 9 fixture against the Warriors in Wellington.
So they were a pretty confident bunch then.
This year they're riding a six-game winning streak and are again heading to New Zealand with 15 of the same players who appeared in the corresponding match last season.
But according to fullback Sam Perrett, they're nowhere near the same team.
"Last year there were a heap of things that were contributing to how we were performing then. And it's no different now," he said.
"Off the field, things have been smooth. There were some tragedies within the families last year, there were injuries, a couple of other distractions, a bit of bad media, and some of the fans weren't too happy."
Forward Greg Eastwood was one who had to deal with the loss of his father, while both parents of football manager Alan Thompson passed away, as did the brother of coach Des Hasler.
Perrett also referred to the very public falling out of former fullback Ben Barba with his family and the club, which dragged on for almost the entire year until his exit from Belmore.
"All those things, we're not dealing with any of that at the moment. It's quite the opposite," he said. "It's been a part of our consistency in how we're going and why the boys are happy."
The situation can be summed up in the sudden spike in form of second-rower Tony Williams, who is arguably playing his best football since moving from Manly at the end of 2012.
With the suspended Greg Bird set to miss Game I for NSW, the door has opened for coach Laurie Daley to hand Williams his third Origin jersey.
"His last game [against the Dragons last Sunday], he did some unbelievable work for us. I think he racked up 18 carries. That's a huge effort and the amount of trouble he's given some of the defences has been enormous for us," Perrett said.
"He's much the same as what goes on with the team. All the distractions, all the consistency that's happened. It's been the same for Rex. He's healthy and he's happy. It takes a little while to find your feet sometimes, as it did for me as well in my first game [but] all that's just contributing to how he's playing."
The Bulldogs leave for Hamilton on Friday for a rematch against the Warriors, who they defeated in a 21-20 thriller at Eden Park just four weeks ago.
But, with new coach Andrew McFadden penning a three-year deal this week, Perrett expects a more settled and stable Warriors team that's shown glimpses of their attacking potency in back-to-back wins over Melbourne and the Raiders.
"All those kind of things, knowing what's going to happen in the future is always settling for anyone. That'll definitely help them," Perrett, 29, said.
"Every team in the comp is trying to get on top of the ladder. But for it to happen early [for us] is really good.
"In saying that, we've really just got to keep our feet on the ground. It's still early days so we've got to focus hard. The warriors, we know what's happened recently, they're going to be motivated. It'll be a tough team this weekend."