Canterbury are promising another brutal Belmore Sports Ground ‘welcome’ when Cronulla play at the iconic NRL venue on Sunday.
Melbourne were blown away last month when the Bulldogs played their first NRL match at the ground since 1998.
Canterbury host their second and final game of the season at Belmore against the Sharks in round 20 on the weekend, and Bulldogs prop Aidan Tolman said on Tuesday Paul Gallen’s side can expect another intimidating experience.
“When you run out in front of 16000 fans like that, it is such a boost,” Tolman said.
“It is the spiritual home of the Bulldogs, it is a great atmosphere. It was unbelievable what happened last time and it really does lift you as a player.
“We want to build this as an impenetrable ground, make it so tough for other teams to come and win here.
“It is not easy to come to the ground when 99 per cent of fans are Bulldogs fans, and you look at the way they responded to Josh Reynolds last time, it was incredible.”
The Bulldogs faithful virtually demanded Reynolds’ introduction into the game against the Storm after an extended time on the bench. When Reynolds did enter the fray he was afforded a raucous standing ovation from the home fans.
NSW back-rower Josh Jackson was a spectator against Melbourne and said he can’t wait to play at Belmore, which remains the Dogs’ training base, affording them a further home ground advantage.
“I expected a pretty good atmosphere, but to get that crowd on a Monday night, it exceeded expectations,” Jackson said.
“For a visiting team it must be pretty hard, it would be pretty intimidating, they are a very vocal crowd.”
“It is something pretty special to play here, there is a great history here and to get the opportunity to play here is something I will remember for a long time.”