Bulldogs' Elliott targets bench impact
Young Canterbury forward Adam Elliott is under no illusions as to the calibre of starting forwards in the massive blue and white pack this year but says he doesn't want to be the type of player who comes on for 20 minutes and no-one remembers being out there.
Injury hampered the 22-year-old's debut NRL Telstra Premiership season last year, restricting him to eight games, but he said he hoped to do enough in his time on field early this year to stamp his case for a longer-term role.
"Last year I probably didn't take advantage of that role coming off the bench," Elliott said.
"Maybe I didn't have the confidence in myself to come on and really put my stamp on that bench jersey and be able to understand what you can bring as a bench player.
The youngster was happy for established Test players like James Graham, Greg Eastwood and Sam Kasiano to lay the platform then inject something fresh when he gets on the field.
"We've got Test players, they're going to lay the platform, they're going to be the ones at the start that are banging heads and we [bench players] have just got to come on when they get a bit tired and really just lift the energy if we can, stay error free and just continue the grind," he added.
"[We need to] be able to do it with a bit more upbeat energy coming off the bench. You don't want to come on and play 20 minutes with no one realising you're out there, you want the boys to be going 'oh here he is I'm going to really lift now because he's coming on and bringing this energy'.
"So if you can impact on the people inside and outside of you and get them to put a bit of a spring in their step as well, that's a massive part of being a bench player."
Elliott was pumped to be able to start the season at the club's spiritual Belmore home ground and while he missed the legendary 'Back to Belmore' game in 2015 when the Bulldogs smashed this week's opponents Melbourne in the first game at the ground in 17 years, he has played there once – a 22-8 loss to Canberra early last season.
"We played a couple of games here last year and probably didn't play how we wanted to but there would be nothing better than to put our stamp on the season by starting at Belmore and really getting the home fans here and playing against the Storm, a quality opposition, it's going to be a great game," he said.
"I remember watching that [2015 Belmore game] in the crowd and it was electric. It was like the fences were about to collapse there was that many people squeezed in. It has a massive impact on the boys and how we start, so if everyone turns up and there's that atmosphere happening it can only be good for us.
"It's not only a big game this week because it's Round 1 of the season but just the fact that we're playing at Belmore, there's a lot of culture behind it as well so we'd love to be able to relive that moment."