Graham: Dogs can chew through Origin
Inspirational Bulldogs front-rower James Graham is confident the remaining Origin schedule will not hinder the blue and whites as they track towards finals football.
With Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Josh Morris and Tony Williams missing at different points throughout the series, Graham insisted that while it wasn't ideal the Bulldogs' shot at premiership glory remained on schedule.
"I think people are full of alternatives but it's hard when... the television deal is in place until 2017 and Fox and Channel Nine want a product and they're paying money for it. If you [the players] want these increases in the salary caps and the grants then sometimes you have to give a little bit," Graham said.
"Clubs have dealt with it over the years and if you look at the likes of the Melbourne Storm they have probably had four of the best players [play Origin] and they have gone on to win competitions. We just have to get on with it and deal with it."
While the Bulldogs' run of seven consecutive wins came to a screeching halt once the Origin period reared its head, Graham laments that such things are bound to happen within any sporting environment.
"Looking back on the season so far... we have won three games by a point which in hindsight could have gone either way and that's just me being a realist," Graham said.
"We had three losses where we thought we gave ourselves a chance to win the game but we didn't and that's just sport. You just have to accept it.
"When two good teams go up against each another there's only going to be one winner and sometimes you're at the wrong end of the stick there. As much as you're disappointed with the results you have to move on as quickly as possible."
With Canterbury set to face Manly on Friday, the Sea Eagles similarly will be influenced by State of Origin, with halfback Daly Cherry-Evans named in the Queensland team.
While the Sea Eagles will be missing their linchpin, Graham says that they will not be taking the competition frontrunners lightly - especially given the Sea Eagles beat them 32-12 only five weeks ago.
"They're a team that when given the opportunity they take them more often than not. They don't sit back and their execution levels are probably the best in the competition... and they're an all-round good team," Graham said.
"They're really lethal with their application and their intensity, as we found out the other week."
While an inevitably tough game beckons for the Bulldogs against the Sea Eagles, they will be boosted by the return of Graham's front row partner Aiden Tolman from a hamstring injury.
Tolman said: "I haven't heard the team yet but I'm hoping to be back. I'm available. It was a slight little tear sort of thing so I missed two games and then the bye, so it was a perfect opportunity for a bit more rest.
"I'm going to train all this week and see what happens. It feels fine, it's not giving me any grief and I'm looking forward to getting back. It's hard to see the boys running around when you're sitting on the sideline, so it'll be good."