Canterbury concede they are not yet matching it with the NRL’s best as they prepare to renew hostilities with South Sydney in a `Bad’ Friday replay.
The Bulldogs’ season will be on the line against the resurgent Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium in what shapes as a fiery affair.
Their last clash in round five was the most memorable of the season after a controversial James Graham penalty for a late hit on Adam Reynolds sealed an 18-17 Bunnies victory.
The Bulldogs were left seething after Graham was pinged for taking out Reynolds’ legs as he kicked, the Rabbitohs going on to win it with a penalty kick from right in front.
In the wash up Graham, David Klemmer and Sam Kasiano were all suspended and tensions are expected to be high at ANZ Stadium.
However Graham says more of a concern is getting their season back on track.
They are seventh following their 36-14 win over the Gold Coast on Sunday but only hold just a two-point buffer over ninth-placed Manly, who are finishing the season fast.
Graham also admits their performance against big sides this year has been disappointing.
They only have one win against a top four team – Brisbane in round 22 – to their credit this year and Graham says they need to lift in the big games.
“I think we’ve gone okay (in big games) – I think that’s a fair assessment,” Graham said.
“We’ve been a little bit up and down and a little bit inconsistent.
“We spoke about that as a group and now it’s time to get a little bit more consistent heading into our push to get into the top eight.”
Graham said the reigning premiers were back to their best and playing with a winning mentality after a convincing victory over fellow title contenders North Queensland on Thursday.
“Souths look like they’re back and they played an outstanding game on Thursday,” Graham said.
“They look like they’re back to playing finals football.
“They took the drop goal in the first half (against the Cowboys) and it looks like their mentality has really turned.
“They look like they’re back to their best.”