Injury and suspension threaten Dogs' campaign
A dominant 28-4 elimination final win in Melbourne could be soured for the Bulldogs, who finished the match with two players on report and two injured, one seriously.
An ankle injury to Pat O'Hanlon, who was stretchered off in the second half in visible pain, and a hip complaint for winger Corey Thompson, who also left the field, could test the Bulldogs' depth next week against Manly. O'Hanlon's season could be over after suffering a suspected compound fracture and dislocated ankle.
Further, Dave Klemmer (high tackle) and Josh Morris (chicken wing tackle) were placed on report to blight an otherwise dream afternoon for the visiting fans.
Injury concerns are something they will share with next week's opponent as Manly look to race back hooker Matt Ballin, with reserve hooker and lock Jamie Buhrer out for the season and third-choice hooker Jayden Hodges leaving the field in a neck brace last week.
However when asked whether the higher ranked Sea Eagles would start favourites, Des Hasler's answer was predictable.
"They'll have to be. What else would they be?" said Hasler.
"They are experienced campaigners. The individuals there have played a lot of finals football and no doubt the games are all sudden death.
"It's just a matter of backing up, regrouping and going harder together. That's what this finals footy is all about."
Now the wait is on for the match review committee charges to be handed down.
If Hasler was worried about losing both Morris and Klemmer to suspension he wasn't showing it.
"I thought [both reports] were a bit lame," Hasler said.
"I think J-Moz will be okay, I just thought he had control of his arms. And I think Dave Klemmer's was just a good tackle. But I think a penalty would be sufficient on those."
But for the time being the blue and white army can bask in what was a dominant performance.
Rather than a side that had won just two of its last eight, Canterbury appeared to recapture the form that saw them win seven straight games between Rounds 4-10.
It was the Doggies' second win from as many visits to Melbourne this season and fourth straight over the Storm.
They are in action again next Saturday night at 7.40pm at Allianz Stadium against Manly for a sudden death semi final, with a preliminary final berth against Penrith there for the taking.