Bulldogs' mood never soured: Graham
Canterbury's energetic win over Manly on Sunday is evidence that the spirit within the club remained good even as a string of losses and salary cap uncertainty hung over the team, according to captain James Graham.
Speaking after his team's convincing 30-16 win at ANZ Stadium, both Graham and coach Des Hasler seemed more relieved than anything that the team was finally able to enjoy some rewards for hard work and perseverance.
"It's always good to get a win. We've been working hard for it, the effort [was there]," Hasler said.
"Probably the biggest thing that happened for us, we've been working hard at controlling the momentum and controlling the flow of possession. It was pretty good for us [on Sunday], we were able to build some pressure and build some field position and score more than two tries.
"It's always good to get a smile on the face when you win and we can go into next week. It's more a reward for the effort because we've been working pretty hard. Our defence has been fairly consistent for most of the year."
Graham said while the mood in the team post-game was "a lot better than what it's felt recently," the players had never dropped their heads.
"I think out there we just got a couple of early tries and felt a lot more confident. We hung onto the ball better than what we've done in recent weeks and managed the possession. We came up with some points and some tries," Graham said.
"To be honest the atmosphere at training and in the dressing room has been pretty upbeat all things considered.
"There's a lot of reasons why it wouldn't be but probably [the performance] showed that [it's still good].
"In a few of the weeks previous our confidence has been rattled a little bit. For whatever reason [against Manly] the ball stuck and gave us that confidence to go on with the win and on the back of some really good efforts in defence which have been there for most of the year, there were some big try saves there from a few of the boys."
While it is too late for a finals charge, Canterbury are now likely to finish outside the bottom four and have the chance to build a few wins heading into the off-season.