Reynolds and Mbye will get job done
Earlier in the season many worked away to figure out how the Bulldogs' three halves would fit into two, but with injury forcing coach Des Hasler's hand, skipper James Graham has thrown his support behind teammates Josh Reynolds and Moses Mbye as they prepare for life after Trent Hodkinson.
Halfback Hodkinson's season-ending wrist injury would have put any other club into disarray, but in his replacement Mbye – Graham believes the club have a star that is constantly chipping away at becoming the complete package.
Mbye has proven to be a match-winner on several occasions for the Bulldogs throughout the season, but Graham said it shouldn't be the threshold people base their judgements of the 22-year-old on.
While they lose the calming influence of Knights-bound Hodkinson forever, it breeds positives in that Reynolds and Mbye can focus on the future as they look to guide the Bulldogs towards the first week of October starting with the Dragons this Saturday.
"I've got all the confidence in the world in Moses. I think in the past few weeks people may have questioned his form but I have no problem with it," Graham said at the NRL Captains Call on Monday.
"I think when you have so many supernova moments like he did in the middle of the season you always get compared to that.
"People are always looking for these massive moments and these big impacts in the game but when they don't happen, people automatically think 'oh he's had a bad game' but that's not the case.
"He's been doing the little things well and if he keeps doing that then these moments will come again."
Reynolds' return from a nagging knee injury in the Bulldogs' 26-22 win over the Warriors on Sunday night was as timely as they come – especially after he set up Graham's match-sealing try in the 78th minute.
The five-eighth's return was as steady as they come with him dominating the Bulldogs' kicking game, as well as further producing four tackle busts, over running 100 metres and 22 tackles.
"I think Josh had a really positive [influence on us against the Warriors] to be honest. He obviously brings a lot of energy and a lot of spark and I was really pleased with how Josh applied himself," Graham added.
"He looked good and got through the game and I have no reason as to why he won't kick on and play even better against the Dragons."
Finishing on the bottom half of the top eight at fifth after last year's run to the grand final from seventh, Graham went on to add his team can't rely on past glories if they are to go one step further in 2015.
"It's a funny one. Last year has been and gone and I think if we focus on [last year's run] too much then there's a possibility where we think it's just going to happen. We can't draw too much on the powers of last season," he said.
"We have to focus on what's in front of us because there's a possibility that there is no next week for us. We're fully aware of that and we certainly need to be better than what we have been recently.
"While I think we're all striving for perfection, it's not a reality we can reach so we just need to play close to our best if we want to kick on and get anywhere in this finals series."