Melbourne have resisted rushing injured star halfback Cooper Cronk back into their line-up to face Canterbury in their NRL clash on Monday night.
Cronk, who is recovering from a knee injury, was hopeful of making a comeback at Belmore Sports Ground.
However he failed to train with the squad in their final session on Sunday before the team flew to Sydney.
But Cronk is still a strong chance of playing in the Maroons’ State of Origin decider on July 8 in Brisbane.
Football manager Frank Ponissi said the Test No.7 was close to playing.
“He’s not going to play (against the Bulldogs), he’s not quite ready,” Ponissi told AAP.
“He trained by himself today rather than with the team.
“He wasn’t far off but it’s not worth risking him.”
Ben Hampton, who has been covering for Cronk who sustained the injury against the Raiders in round 13, is set to remain as halfback.
Melbourne are looking to get back in the winners’ circle after back to back losses for the first time this season.