Well, it is official. The NRL grand final will be hosted between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Melbourne Storm, after the Belmore side pummelled a weakened South Sydney outfit at ANZ Stadium last night, winning 32-8.
The Dogs were the better side, but their job was made easier when Souths in-form halfback Adam Reynolds tore his hamstring, whilst attempting a kick-chase.
Dogs captain Michael Ennis knows that his side has to be on their game, if they are to challenge a Melbourne side, who seem to be hitting their straps at the right time, heading into the grand final.
“It’s an opportunity now – we can’t just be happy to get there against a very, very good side … obviously a very, very experienced at this time of year,” Bulldogs skipper Michael Ennis said of the looming decider against Melbourne.
Despite the win, however, one that came in front of 70,354 fans, Hasler knows that his side cannot afford to get carried away, with the big game still to come.
“They (the Storm) are the benchmark aren’t they.
“They’re a great club side … they’ve been very clinical and they’ve played very well in the games they’ve had against South Sydney and then Manly last night.”
The loss of Reynolds for the Rabbitohs dented any go-forward, momentum and finesse in last tackle plays, but despite that, Souths coach Michael Maguire was pleased with his side overall, particularly for making it as far as they did.
“It obviously changed our structures of what we were going to play at them,” Souths coach Michael Maguire said.
“I’m proud of what we’ve created here at the club, the direction we’re heading as a club.
“… they did a great job out there tonight. It’s just unfortunate losing your half.”