Canterbury has claimed the club’s first win since September last year. Now they want more, and the player steering the ship is ready to deliver.
Canterbury halfback Kyle Flanagan has vowed to repay Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett’s faith with more wins, declaring the Dogs have discovered the recipe to climb off the bottom of the NRL ladder.
Flanagan was full of confidence at training on Monday following his side’s 18-12 victory over Cronulla – the club’s first win since September last year.
The rising playmaker believes the Bulldogs pack holds the key to the cellar dwellers consistently competing with the competition’s best teams.
“We showed on the weekend when forwards Luke Thompson and Dylan Napa led from the front,” Flanagan said.
“If they can do that every week and create that platform for (five-eighth) Jake Averillo and myself to play on the back of it, then it is going to be a good thing for us.
“This team is in a good position – we’ve got to look forward and we are staying positive.”
Flanagan is also buoyed by the Bulldogs’ resilience in their win over Cronulla.
The Sharks had multiple chances to beat Canterbury in the closing stages, but the men in blue and white held on through their dogged defence.
“We wanted to play really simple and with energy and intent,” he said.
“We had a mindset that we wanted to win more than them, and that goes a long way in a football game.
“In the last five minutes we were scrambling for each other, so to get our season off to a start is pretty pleasing.
“Everyone is smiling and there is a good vibe around the club. I suppose this club is not too used to winning much, so there is a buzz about town.”
Flanagan wasn’t surprised to see Barrett’s emotional response to the Bulldogs’ first win of the season.
“We see it behind closed doors a fair bit – he gets quite emotional,” he said.
It’s why Flanagan, and his Bulldogs teammates, want to win more games for Barrett, who has devoted his life to rebuilding the famous club.
“He puts so much effort into the team, and he loves this club so much,” he said.
“The boys really want to repay Baz for the hard work that he puts in and I’m exactly the same – I want to repay the faith that he has put into me.”
Canterbury face Parramatta (H), St George Illawarra (A), Canberra (H) and the Gold Coast (A) in the next month.
It’s a difficult draw, but Flanagan is confident his side can impress.
“If we play with the same energy and intent, we’ll put ourselves in the game,” he said.
“It (losing) was something that I wasn’t used to coming here and not winning too many games to start, but it has given me a lot of confidence going forward.
“We’ve just got to keep building now and focus on Parramatta.”