Reynolds injury opens door for Frawley
With Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds sidelined with a hamstring injury, Bulldogs halfback Matt Frawley intends to use the next month to state a case of a permanent position in Des Hasler's starting line-up.
The Bulldogs have relished Frawley's involvement as an extra playmaker in the past month with four wins in their last five games after the team endured a barrage of criticism to start the year.
Losing the influential Reynolds allows the trio of Frawley, Michael Lichaa and Moses Mbye a chance to combine for the first time on Thursday night against the North Queensland Cowboys.
"It's been a pretty big six weeks for me and something I sort of hoped would happen once I got into the gate," Frawley said on Tuesday.
"I thought if I took my opportunity that more would come. I know it's a cliché but you do need to break it down week-by-week and focus on the little things and preparing right.
"It's disappointing about Josh and we'll miss him but coming on as a half sitting on the bench is something I've had to get used to, so I'll be more comfortable starting."
Hasler has rotated the quartet well this season but the void left by the Tigers-bound No.6 opens the door for Frawley to make his mark on the Bulldogs, particularly with speculation ripe that Warriors five-eighth Kieran Foran could be headed to Belmore in 2018.
"I've just got to keep taking my opportunity, it's the biggest thing for me. I still don't see myself as a cemented first grader yet and want to prove myself each week by playing as if it's my last," Frawley said.
"We're all really good mates off the field and happy with whatever the team needs and what Des wants.
"All the boys have been supportive which has made my job easier and they've backed me from my debut and onwards.
"If we keep winning games and the balance works right that's all that matters."
Frawley received a late call-up to the Country Origin side on the weekend as 18th man with both he and back-rower Adam Elliot granted permission by the Bulldogs to take part in the game after the club originally ruled all players would be ineligible for the final City-Country fixture.
"I took a lot out of [the experience]," Frawley said.
"I was only there for a couple of days but learnt a lot being around different group of players and some great coaches in Fitzy (Country coach Craig Fitzgibbon) and Bobcat (former Bulldogs player Andrew Ryan)."
Canterbury's next opponents North Queensland were dealt a blow on the weekend with news Johnathan Thurston had suffered a shoulder injury and would miss at least the next fortnight.
The Australian halfback was scheduled to play his 299th NRL Telstra Premiership game in Indigenous Round against the club he started his career with back in 2004.
"It's bittersweet as it would have been a dream come true playing against JT," Frawley said.
"He's a legend of the game and a player I looked up to try and take a few things out of his game that he does a lot better than I do."