Bulldogs learn from Tiger cubs' past lesson
The last time the Bulldogs met the Wests Tigers' young cubs, they were handed a harsh lesson and fell face first into a winless month of football.
So they know better than most what can happen if they approach Thursday night's fixture against the struggling joint venture with any hint of complacency.
"We're not really looking into the last couple of weeks of what's happened at the Wests Tigers," said prop James Graham.
"We'll be expecting them to play at the same level they did four or five weeks ago when they played us. That's the performance we're expecting from them. We're under no illusions as to how good they can be.”
Teenage pair Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks had a field day against the Belmore club back in Round 18, pulling out all the tricks from their high school textbook in a riotous 46-18 win.
Their confidence shot, the Bulldogs lost their way with three straight defeats before finally bouncing back with last Friday's controversial victory over the Eels.
"Each week we wanted to get out of that loser's circle. The Parramatta game was a weight off our shoulders," Graham said.
"We just needed to get a win. On the back of that, I think the performance from us, and the completion rate, was as high as it has been all year for us.
"We talked about giving ourselves an opportunity to win the game and that's what we did. The last 10 minutes was pretty tough. They had some good opportunities to get over, but I thought we defended reasonably well."
The Tigers, on the other hand, have since faired much worse. They failed to capitalise on their feel-good win by bombing their four games since – including the past three by a combined 124 points.
But rookie prop David Klemmer said they can't afford to show any mercy to their cross-town rivals. Not with their precarious spot in the top eight at stake.
"They'll be looking to finish the season off strong, that's probably on their mind. They're just going to play footy this week, they're going to come out firing on Thursday so we've got to be prepared for it," he said.
"You’ve just got to go in there to win the game. You can't feel sorry for them because if you feel sorry for them, they can come out and get you."
Added Graham: "It was very disappointing for us last time to concede the amount of tries that we did. We'll be expecting a similar performance or the same level of performance from them this week."