We've been consistent: Hasler
In stark contrast to the 2014 finals series, when Des Hasler's men limped into September in seventh position after winning just two of their last eight regular season games before then surging to a grand final appearance, this time consistency is on their side.
That was the view of the coach after his side left it late before finding a way to win against a resolute Warriors outfit on Sunday night at ANZ Stadium, James Graham's 77th minute four-pointer reclaiming the lead in a match that saw six lead changes in 80 minutes.
With Brett Morris rested but sure to return next week, and Josh Reynolds making a welcome return from injury to replace Trent Hodkinson (wrist, season) in the halves, things were never going to be at their most fluent on a slippery, rainy Sunday evening.
"It was one of those games where the only good thing to come out was we found a way to win," Hasler said after the game.
"It wasn't a pretty game by any stretch of the imagination. It never was – it was always going to be a difficult game."
He said he'd expected the Warriors to put in an improved showing after conceding 50 points in successive weeks against the Cowboys and Wests Tigers. While the Bulldogs completed around 66 per cent in the first half, the Warriors were below 50 per cent.
"They weren't particularly good in the first half, I think they were nine from 17 [completions].
"They made it a little bit easier for us. We just couldn't get into any kind of rhythm, or pattern, we dropped the ball, made too many errors. Obviously finals coming around it's a different mindset now."
The other plus side from the win was the fact the club came through with no additional injury dramas, he added.
"We got through unscathed which is good. Brett Morris will be OK, we just took the opportunity to rest him."
Asked about his side's current five-game winning streak which has lifted them to a fifth-place ladder finish, Hasler added: "We've been one of the consistent sides, our last four weeks have been pretty consistent in fairness.
"We're carrying a bit of momentum I think into a finals series this time. It doesn't really matter now because finals are a different level of football. I'm pretty sure this side realises that, plenty of experience in finals, we'll go from there."