They’re definitely older, but are Canterbury wiser?
Bulldogs winger Sam Perrett insists they are, after the club was burned badly from the ugly scenes that marred last year’s infamous `Bad Friday’ clash with South Sydney.
Both skipper James Graham and David Klemmer were handed lengthy bans for their tirades at the match officials late in the dramatic encounter that ended in bottles being thrown at referees by fans.
An NRL official was hurt in the incident, forcing coach Des Hasler to issue an apology after the match.
Now the two powerhouse clubs renew their hostilities in the annual fixture at Homebush this weekend, and Perrett was confident there wouldn’t be a repeat of the terrible actions this weekend.
“Experiences like that, they definitely make you stronger and smarter,” he said on Monday.
“We all learnt a fair bit from it, how to handle certain situations. There’s plenty more learning to come, but that was definitely a good learning curve for us.”
Prop Aiden Tolman agreed, and also admitted the aftermath from the game cruelled their premiership aspirations last year, kickstarting a barren run of five losses in six games.
They recovered to finish fifth on the table, but bowed out in the second week of the finals.
“Obviously both the guys in James and David Klemmer, they’ve got plenty of passion in them. That’s how they play their game. Everyone in the whole NRL, learnt a lesson from that game,” Tolman told AAP.
“We definitely did learn as a club. I mean, it hurt us in the long run – we lost five players from that game through injury and suspension and it hurt us come the back end of the year.
Centre Josh Morris said Graham and Klemmer would be on their best behaviour.
“Hopefully we don’t see a repeat of last year and we’ll just let the football do the talking and the boys can go out there and put on a good show for everyone,” he said.