Elliott: Dogs can defy critics to make finals
Adam Elliott doesn't want anyone writing off Canterbury just yet, saying there's plenty more left in the Bulldogs' kennel after the gritty 20-12 victory over the Eels.
And since it was Elliott who stole the show by scoring the match-winning four-pointer, maybe fans should start listening.
The 23-year-old is also channelling the Eels from 2017 – where they won nine of their last 10 rounds – to show what the Bulldogs can do.
"You saw Parramatta last year go on a really good run, starting to build really good combinations ... not taking anything away from them now, but I think our boys are just as skilful; just as powerful," Elliott told NRL.com.
"I can't see any reason why we can't go on a run like that and into this year's finals as well."
It's energetic moments like Elliott produced in Friday night's win, that will very likely spark the Dogs.
The Tathra Sea Eagles junior had only been back on the ANZ Stadium arena for a few minutes after passing a head injury assessment midway through the second half.
"You go inside the sheds for a bit and pull down to concentrate on your testing. Then you have to go out and pick up the pace of the game again.
"To be honest, I didn't know what the score was until I ran out and snuck a look at the scoreboard again.
"I managed to work my way back into it and ended up being on the spot."
He most certainly was when back-row teammate Josh Jackson in the 72nd minute sent a deft little grubber into the in-goal area. Eels fullback Clint Gutherson fluffed it, allowing Elliott to pounce on the loose ball to score his second try of the Telstra Premiership season.
"Jacko always practises it because he's been on the edge, you see in the last few years with seven-tackle restarts, teams are running on the last a lot more," Elliott said, explaining the rarity of seeking the Bulldogs skipper kick.
"That means your edges, centres and wingers, get the ball most often on the fifth tackle so they practise those little grubbers. It's a big weapon.
"Jacko will be doing them all year now, since he hit that one on the spot."
As for Elliott's part – pretty crucial it has to be said – he inists he was just using his instincts like any player.
"I actually thought he'd (Jackson) hit it a bit hard so I wanted to sprint and make sure I could put pressure on Gutherson to kick the ball dead so we'd get the drop-out.
"It just so happened we got a good bounce and it held up, so he (Gutherson) definitely had to make a play.
"I was watching the air-swing but I couldn't feel sorry for Gutho because there were a couple of ricochets so I had to keep my eye on the ball. I just wanted to get to it before one of their players."
The try broke the 12-12 deadlock and handed the Dogs their first win in four matches.
"We have spoken about how we could probably – in the last few weeks – put our heads down and say that we just haven't got the bounce of the ball which has been a big factor in the results," Elliott said.
"But we haven't done that. We know our performances haven't been good enough. So at training we make sure everyone is up on their toes."