Canterbury prop Aidan Tolman has hit out at critics who say the Bulldogs don’t deserve their spot in the NRL’s top four.
The Bulldogs quietly slipped into the top four with four rounds remaining on the back of their unconvincing win over Newcastle on Saturday and North Queensland’s loss to Wests Tigers on Sunday.
After a sluggish start to the season, characterised by their inability to string wins together, the Dogs have won six of their last seven games.
But they were thumped 36-0 by North Queensland three weeks ago and mid-season losses to Cronulla and Canberra also have many questioning their ability to beat the competition’s top sides.
NRL great Darren Lockyer, for one, has said he doesn’t believe the Dogs can’t win the competition due to a lack of consistency and ruthlessness.
“That is fine by us. We don’t really care what everybody writes about us,” Tolman said on Monday.
“The media has their own agendas, for us we are going about our footy.
“We are not playing our best footy yet but we find ourselves in the top four and that is where we want to stay.”
The Dogs face Manly on Thursday night, then Brisbane, North Queensland and South Sydney.
Their round 25 clash with defending premiers the Cowboys at Belmore Sports Grounds shapes as a season-defining clash.
“A few results on the weekend fell in our favour and we are there in the top four, but we still have four big games ahead,” Tolman said.
“It would be nice to keep this momentum going into the finals. The next four games are crucial for us.”
Brett Morris said the Dogs were timing their run into the finals nicely.
“Of late we have been pretty consistent. At the start of the year we were very patchy with win, loss, win, loss, win, loss,” he said.
“But we have managed to string wins together now and that is what you need to do if you want to make the top four.”
“We have been winning games. We have been winning them ugly and we know there is room for improvement.”
International forward Greg Eastwood sat out the win over the Knights and is not due back from a hamstring injury for at least another week.