Melbourne’s Craig Bellamy has laughed off the claim by fellow coach Des Hasler that his Bulldogs aren’t up with the big boys of the NRL competition and says Canterbury are the benchmark team.
Hasler has tried to claim underdog status ahead of the Bulldogs mouth-watering clash with Manly on Friday night at Brookvale Oval.
The Bulldogs, joint ladder leaders alongside Melbourne and premiership favourites, will take on Hasler’s former side, the defending champions.
Hasler said the Bulldogs were still a work in progress and new kids on the block compared to big guns Melbourne, Brisbane and Manly.
Bellamy said Hasler wasn’t fooling anyone with his team winning their past seven games.
“I don’t know whether Des is really fooling anyone these days,” he said.
“They’ve been a really good side for most of the year after a few early hiccups.
“They’re definitely the benchmark, without a doubt.
“They’re the form team of the competition, I wouldn’t say by a mile but they’re a fair way ahead of anyone else with what they’ve done in the last six weeks.”
He believed the Sea Eagles at home would give the Bulldogs a big test but said they certainly weren’t flying under the radar.
“If he thinks that, he’s been talking to someone who’s been out of the country for a couple of months.”