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Ennis expects plenty of NRL's Bulldogs

Canterbury Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis never doubted his team would make the NRL finals despite their many on and off-field tribulations and says their expectations are probably greater than last year.
Ennis expects plenty of NRL's Bulldogs
by AAP

By Adrian Warren

SYDNEY, Sept 9 AAP - Canterbury Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis never doubted his team would make the NRL finals despite their many on and off-field tribulations and says their expectations are probably greater than last year.

The 2012 minor premiers and losing grand finalists have had anything but a smooth passage this year.

Injuries and suspensions ravaged them in the early weeks of the season, while the off-field dramas surrounding 2012 Dally M Player of the Year Ben Barba created potentially distracting headlines at the start and end of the campaign.

The Bulldogs made a 1-5 start, but hooker Ennis never lost faith in the club's ability.

"No, I always believed in the roster and the staff that we've got there and where we were heading," Ennis told AAP on Monday.

"We just needed to get it together and we've done enough to get here, but we've just got to do something about it now."

A mid-season run of seven wins from eight games propelled them up the ladder, though they lost three of their last five.

While the Bulldogs were forced to settle for sixth spot and a first-week elimination final against Newcastle, Ennis stressed the players expectations were no lower than they had been last year.

"The expectation from the playing group is probably more (than last season), knowing what we can play to, I suppose," Ennis said.

"We know that we can achieve it if we get it together and we've just got to be very good for the next month."

Immediately standing in their way is a Newcastle side that beat them twice this year, with a 44-8 hiding at Hunter Stadium, among the Bulldogs 2013 lowlights.

"They are a side that's very capable and have plenty of experience, and plenty of strikepower," Ennis said of Newcastle.

"They are a a really well balanced side, they've got that experience with (Willie) Mason and (Jeremy) Smith and (Danny) Buderus in amongst their pack, and Beau Scott.

"Their halves are clever. (Tyrone) Roberts is an up and comer who has had a great season. (Jarrod) Mullen is very very good.

"Then their outside backs are as good as any in the comp, so it's going to be very tough for us."




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