Bulldogs fullback Sam Perrett was blown away after being informed that his struggling club were favourites to topple the ladder-leading Dragons when they face off on Monday afternoon.
Despite losing five of their past seven games and sitting outside of the top eight the Bulldogs are slight favourites ahead of the Dragons on Sportsbet after being clear $1.75 favourites earlier on this week.
Perrett could hardly believe the favouritism tag, especially considering their last start was a hard fought 41-34 victory over Canberra – a team who the Red V beat convincingly three weeks ago.
"Is that right? Wow. What are they going on some past record over the years or something? The Dragons have been outstanding," Perrett said.
"We're going to have a massive challenge on our hands. Canberra was a big challenge, and we were lucky to get away with that. These guys are even more so [a challenge].
"We've got to work our bums off to try and get some points off them because they have been defending really well. Then also, they've been scoring a lot. We really need to bring one of our best games of the season to get this one."
With the Dragons flying high having won eight of their past nine games, Perrett – who has played in three (albeit losing) grand finals – has enough experience to justify calling his impending opponents "the real deal".
"The way they're playing and some of the things they're doing, I definitely think [they are legitimate]," Perrett said.
"All it can take in a team is new scenery, or a breath of fresh air of some sort and it can turn around. I've experienced that in the past in my career with the Roosters – new coaches coming in, new players coming in.
"Benji's [Marshall] really leading the way there and some of the young forwards, they're doing it across the park. They're clicking which is what every club is trying to do."
What will work in the Bulldogs' favour though is their huge turnaround since playing the Raiders. By the time they run out onto ANZ Stadium on Monday, it will have been 15 days since they last played after having their first bye of the season in Round 12.
Snapping a three-game losing streak against the Raiders, the challenge for the Bulldogs has lied in improving their defence and maintaining their enthusiasm without the benefits of actually playing and putting it into practice.
"At the age of 30 it definitely helps me. I'm happy about [the long turnaround]. I'll take any rest I can get but I guess it poses challenges," Perrett said.
"We have had to try and keep the momentum and that sharpness about us. That's probably why Dessie [coach Hasler] gave us a long weekend with the rest of it being training.
"To be honest I think there's plenty of areas that we need to stay sharp in and do better in. That's probably the thinking behind [constantly training] and I agree with it."