Bulldogs hopeful of Graham, Morris returns
Bulldogs duo Sam Perrett and Tim Lafai are hopeful that Brett Morris and captain James Graham will return from injury to face the ladder-leading Dragons on Monday afternoon.
Morris (hamstring) hasn't played since the Bulldogs infamous Good Friday clash against the Rabbitohs, while Graham injured his knee and was concussed in his one and only game since facing South Sydney in Round 5.
With the veteran duo still doing their bit in the rehab group, the Bulldogs have been somewhat blessed by the 15 day turnaround since their last start, a 41-34 win over Canberra in Round 11.
"We've been watching the boys doing their fitness testing and they're looking really good," Perrett said.
"Here's hoping [they play]. We've got good medical staff there. They're going to do everything they can to get out there."
Lafai added: "There's no pressure on them to make a fast recovery but luckily we have had a big turnaround. It's been a while since we have had a full team so it'll be awesome to have those two players back because they provide a huge impact on the field for us."
There is an extra incentive for Morris to return early, he will face his old Dragons team for the first time if passed.
While State of Origin would be the last thing on the Bulldogs fullback's mind, a good performance would go a long way for Morris to add to his 10 Origin appearances.
"This'll be a big one if he can make it back for this definitely. Anyone who plays against their old club always tries to bring out their best against them," Perrett said, drawing from experiences having played his former Roosters side.
"You want to give your old mates a good run. It's a strange relationship we have as friends, but that's what we do I suppose."
While the long turnaround may be beneficial for some, for others like Lafai it has been a frustrating period of the season.
Playing his first game in seven weeks against the Raiders, after injuring his knee in the club's costly Round 5 clash, the break has left Lafai frustrated.
"You just want to play week after week and get some confidence into it but I suppose the break is good because it gives the body time to recover but it's definitely frustrating," Lafai said.
"Obviously I had been out for a couple of weeks before it but the knee felt good. It pulled up a bit sore, and I copped a bit of a stinger on the shoulder, but I'm feeling alright."