Dogs’ Graham not fazed by finals spot

Canterbury captain James Graham says he is not going to worry about where the side finishes in the NRL top eight – as long as they’re there.


The top four and a second chance remains a genuine possibility for the surging Bulldogs, however should they lose their final two games, so too does a catastrophic fall out of the finals race.

A home elimination final is the likely result for Hasler’s side, but Graham says he’s comfortable with whatever situation they end up in come finals time.

“You cross that bridge when you come to it,” Graham said ahead of Saturday’s clash against Newcastle.

“If you get (a home semi-final), it’s a bonus.

“If we do make the eight and it’s seventh or eighth, we’ll just deal with that too.”

Before their run to the grand final last year, the Bulldogs lost six of their final eight regular season games to finish in seventh position and had to play an elimination final in Melbourne.

In contrast, the Bulldogs this season have banked three straight wins over the past three weeks, including the scalps of competition heavyweights Brisbane and South Sydney, and are gathering momentum a fortnight out from the finals.

However Graham played down their recent upswing in form.

“It’s funny – you can maybe compare last year, but a week’s a long time in sport,” he said.

“If you get to this time next week, everyone’s got a different opinion on how the competition is going to unfold.

“We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and deal with the immediate, which is Newcastle this week.”

Teammate Josh Jackson said it would be a huge boost if the side could enter September on the back of a five game-winning streak.

After visiting the Knights on Saturday, the Bulldogs close the season by hosting the slumping Warriors.

“It didn’t really happen for us last year that way. But if we can get two wins, it’d be good,” he said.

“But just playing well and go into the finals with a bit of confidence, I think that’s pretty big thing for us.”