Holland nipping at Dogs veterans' heels
Bulldogs centre Kerrod Holland's form in the Intrust Super Premiership continues to put the pressure on the club's NRL outside backs.
The Bulldogs' mixed bag of performances of late has put the spotlight on certain players as the club chases a top-four finish.
Holland – who featured for the club 11 times in the NRL earlier this season – was the star of the show in the Bulldogs' last start 34-16 reserve grade win over the Knights.
After finishing the game with a solo haul of four tries and five goals – for 26 points – plus seven tackle breaks and 113 run metres, Bulldogs fans were calling for coach Des Hasler to reinstate Holland into his NRL team.
Veteran winger Sam Perrett said Holland's form meant there was healthy competition for spots at the Bulldogs but said the immediate challenge for the NRL side was to stay focused on defeating the cellar-dwelling Knights this week.
"Our challenge is our concentration towards our performance. We have struggled in games like this in the past. You're not as motivated or as pumped up for them," Perrett said of the Newcastle match.
"We have spoken about it as a group. Our poor performances recently have been because of the same thing. Our sharpness and our focus has dropped. The key is for us to brush [our errors] as quickly as we can.
"But then the more it happens, the harder it is to forget it. We really need to start cleaning it up otherwise it's going to stay with us."
While Holland is unlikely to play first grade again this season unless injuries occur, Bulldogs centre Josh Morris congratulated the club on the depth they've built in recent seasons.
"I think the depth at the club that Des established over the pre-season has been really good," Morris said.
"It's only good when you have these young fellas coming through and putting pressure you to perform on a weekly basis."
One teammate Perrett couldn't contemplate dropping to reserve grade is centre Curtis Rona, who despite his good form is yet to secure a contract for 2017.
"Curtis can put points on the board, he's very good like that. He's a big body as well so that gives me a little bit of comfort when we're playing against other big sides," Perrett said.
"Curtis has been a star since he arrived here and I know the fans love him which says a lot. The amount of clutch plays he comes up with, who wouldn't want him in the side?"