Momentum doesn't matter in finals: Graham
Bulldogs captain James Graham isn't concerning himself with what other people think about how a team should be performing heading into the NRL Telstra Premiership finals series.
The Bulldogs' indifferent form heading into week one of the finals against the Panthers wasn't worrying the England international, despite his team losing their past three games.
With no momentum on the Bulldogs' side, Graham handed members of the media a science lesson and said there's no point dwelling on the past.
Graham also referred to the 2014 season when the Bulldogs also finished in seventh spot and made it all the way to the grand final against South Sydney.
"Momentum is what you get when you're heading downhill. It's science," he laughed, when quizzed about the Bulldogs' recent form.
"Even if we were in form, what does it count for? For us, we're in this position because we deserve to be. Nobody is going to worry about how you got there.
"We're here, we're playing Penrith and let's see how we go. People have an idealistic view of how to enter into the finals but the fact is we're there. What's happened throughout the season doesn't matter now.
"Speaking from experience, we have been in this situation before and while we haven't come home with the trophy, we made a great account of ourselves and made the grand final.
"While the past three weeks have been disappointing, it's time to move on. It's time to get excited about what we have been able to achieve. We're here playing finals which is want we wanted to do."
Graham said fans' expectations aren't a burden on the playing squad.
In fact, it's the Bulldogs skipper and his teammates who have a great obligation in lighting up the lives of their fans.
"We're a big club with big responsibility and that comes with the territory. It's the nature of the beast. Canterbury is a big Sydney club with a huge following," he said.
"There's no escaping it whether it's through media channels or people in the street. It's not a burden. You have to use it as positive thing. It's special.
"The amount of times when you look back at local Sydney clubs and we're the away team, we're well-followed. The net is spread wide when it comes to Bulldogs supporters and you wouldn't have it any other way."
Graham has been a vocal supporter of Will Hopoate since the Bulldogs fullback announced in March he won't play on Sundays for the remainder of his NRL career for religious reasons.
That support has not changed with Hopoate ruling himself out of featuring against the Panthers at Allianz Stadium this weekend.
"I stand by Will all the way in his decision. His faith defines who he is. I wouldn't want him on the field with something like this hanging over his head," Graham said.
"Will's been outstanding for us this year and he's an important part of our team. But we're playing Sunday and I'm fully confident in the 17 that will play Penrith."
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