Beware the fired up Dogs of War.
That’s the message coming out of St George Illawarra, who face under-strength and under-siege Canterbury in the NRL’s sixth round on Sunday.
With the Bulldogs decimated by the suspensions of skipper James Graham, Sam Kasiano and David Klemmer and injury to fullback Brett Morris following their controversial Good Friday loss to South Sydney, coach Des Hasler is expected to instil a siege mentality at Belmore.
And that’s when the Bulldogs are at their best, says Dragons playmaker Benji Marshall.
“They will be coming out fired up to play, that’s for sure,” Marshall said on Wednesday.
“Obviously losing three of their big guns is going to be a big loss for them.
“But they have the players to make up for that and I’m sure they will be ready.
“They are good in situations like that and we need to be careful of that.
“But we also just need to concentrate on what we have been doing right over the past few weeks.”
Defence is what the Dragons have been doing right.
After two poor losses to start the year, the joint venture have roared into action with three successive victories and conceded just one try in their last two games against Manly and Newcastle.
In the win over the Knights, they become the first NRL team to concede more than 50 opposition tackles in their 20m zone and not concede a try.
Marshall said that great defence has been forged through strong camaraderie.
“What we are starting to do for each other on the field is backed up by what we do off the field, how much time we do spend together and how close we are as a group.
“There is a family feel and everyone is always together and you feel like you want to turn up for each other every day and if someone doesn’t do their job, someone else cleans it up somewhere else.
“That is the attitude you need to have, most premierships are won on the back of defence and we are in a pretty good place there.
“We don’t want to let each other down on the field.”