Parramatta prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard is wary of a Bulldogs forward pack quietly on the improve as the Eels look to go into their first break of the season with a win on Sunday.
Campbell-Gillard said the Bulldogs deserved plenty of respect this week despite the Eels being considered heavy favourites against their 15th-placed rivals.
Canterbury's efforts against the Dragons last start began with strong displays in the middle, where the former NSW forward believed the Eels had won and lost games this season.
"When you play next to Junior [Paulo] and Browny [Nathan Brown] you're always confident you won't take a backward step but in games we haven't won, one or two of us have been off our game," Campbell-Gillard told NRL.com.
"It happened against the Dragons earlier in the season and against the Rabbitohs and Manly.
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"We've got to make sure our game is on because it affects the team and as a forward pack we know that.
"We need to make sure we respect the Bulldogs this week. It's always a good battle from what I've been part of.
"I believe they're playing a lot better football than when we played them last time and they're coming off a win."
Despite consolidating back-to-back defeats last month with two wins in the past fortnight, Eels coach Brad Arthur continues to make some adjustments in the side's forward rotation.
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Arthur has dropped off-contract forward Bryce Cartwright this week with Keegan Hipgrave re-joining the top squad.
Campbell-Gillard said the balance was key to help avoid any hint of complacency, which appeared to creep into the side with 15 minutes remaining against the Wests Tigers last week.
"It's pleasing we're getting the wins but it doesn't mean anything until we're completing an 80-minute performance," the front-rower said.
"It's a nice confidence boost that we can go out there and play consistently each week but we need to learn as a team and club that we make sure lapses like that don't creep in."
Meanwhile, Campbell-Gillard hadn't given up hope of getting back in the frame for State of Origin selection but conceded NSW's dominating 50-6 win in Townsville made it hard for any changes.
"You always want to be in a team like that but it's not happening at the moment," he said.
"But stoked for Junior to be in that team. I believe if things went pear-shaped we'd have a few back in but it's pleasing we've got only one out during Origin period.
"I'm just happy to play good football here and make sure our season is going in the right direction."
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