Bulldogs v Dragons: Five key points

Bulldogs v Dragons: Five key points

The Bulldogs snapped their four-game losing streak with a 16-2 win over the high-flying Dragons in a defence-oriented contest at ANZ Stadium. 

Bulldogs bounce back

Was anyone really surprised to see the Bulldogs bounce back from a month of torment?

In typical Canterbury style, Des Hasler's men overcame a week of media scrutiny to put in a typically dogged display to claim the two competition points. 

The win continues their incredible record in games after being held scoreless and brings them to within two points of a spot in the top eight. 

"I never really doubted the ability of this team. Plenty have, but it was a good win today," Bulldogs coach Des Hasler said after the game. 

"We were disappointed with how we played last week against Penrith. I thought today we were a lot tidier. There is still some improvement [in us]."

Michael Lichaa silences his critics 

His form has been questioned by all and sundry but Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa stood up when it mattered most to score the try that ultimately sealed his side's crucial win on Monday. 

Lichaa's service out of dummy-half has been criticised at times this year as the Bulldogs have fumbled and bumbled their way in good attacking positions.

But during the second half, having noticed no markers in front of him, Lichaa did what all good hookers do in that scenario and ran straight through the unguarded ruck to dive over for his first try of the year. 

"I don't think his form has been terribly inconsistent," Hasler said. 

"I thought he was really good today. He did what he had to do, he was tidy and defended really well. He's responded and it was great to see him get across the try line."

Attack not a concern for the Dragons

Dragons coach Paul McGregor remains unfazed despite his side's inability to score a try against the struggling Bulldogs. 

The Red V started the round averaging the most points in attack but were held to a solitary penalty goal against a Canterbury side that conceded seven tries in last week's loss to the Panthers. 

"It's not good, but we're leading the competition in all forms of attack before today," McGregor said. 

"We were leading line breaks, tries, try assists, offloads, [should I] keep going? They just defended really well and credit where it's due. The opportunity that we did have down there, they defended okay." 

Welcome back Chase Stanley

Few players have experienced as many hard-luck stories as Bulldogs centre Chase Stanley.

Shoulder reconstructions and ACL tears have plagued his career over the years, with the talented outside back restricted to just 101 games in 11 seasons, but despite the constant setbacks, he has always soldiered on. 

It's the sort of dogged determination that few players possess, and his triumphant comeback on Monday afternoon wasn't lost on his teammates. 

"I said earlier in the week that I was in the rehab group for one week just gone and I was over it, and he's been there for God knows how long over his whole career," Bulldogs skipper James Graham said. 

"To keep coming back the way he does, it's a credit to him and his family and it's a great story about never giving up. He's had some hurdles in his career as a footballer and he keeps getting over them. He came through tonight and I think he can have a real impact on this team."

Bulldogs continue to dominate the Red V

Every team seems to have one bogey side that they always struggle against. For some reason – no matter where they are on the ladder – the Dragons cannot get it done against the Bulldogs. All the stats leading into the Queen's Birthday clash suggested the Red V would march on in style, but just as they'd done in nine of their past 10 clashes, the men in blue and white found a way to slay the Dragons. It's a trend Paul McGregor's side will want to address before their next meeting with the Dogs in Round 26, especially if a top four finish is riding on the result.