NRL: Bulldogs aim for finals spot

By Steve Jancetic

Josh Morris scores for the Bulldogs. Photo / Getty Images
Josh Morris scores for the Bulldogs. Photo / Getty Images

They've won six on the trot for the first time since 2006 but skipper Michael Ennis is hoping the Bulldogs can finally build some momentum towards the NRL finals.

The Bulldogs maintained the pressure on tabletoppers Melbourne with a 32-20 win over Wests Tigers on Friday night, but it is quite obvious a lofty ladder position is just the start for the blue and whites.

The run of good form has done nothing to ease the pressure to perform. There is now an expectation that the Bulldogs can build towards an assault on the last Sunday in September.

Ennis said he claimed an interrupted schedule over the past few weeks had played a role in their first half display against the Tigers, when a mountain of dropped ball resulted in them going to the sheds trailing 10-4.

"It's probably been a disjointed period for us," Ennis said. "We've sort of gone a long start to the season, then bye, a couple of games and then bye.

"We were probably just a bit over keen.

"Half time was probably the best thing for us. We got in there and did a lot of work and got back to basics and completed some footy.

"We got the result and at this time of year it's just handy to pick up the points, but lot of work still to do."

Standout fullback Ben Barba - who starred with a try and leading role in three other four-pointers - admitted the team was striving for perfection.

Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire says Greg Inglis' incredible size and strength at fullback is changing the way the game is played.

Inglis has been a revelation at the back since Maguire picked him in the Rabbitohs No.1 jersey.

Maguire said he was not surprised that Inglis has adapted so easily to the demands of fullback but was impressed by his efforts there nonetheless.

"He has such athleticism and speed and he is able to utilise that so effectively," Maguire said.

"The way he brings the ball back so strongly gives the frontrowers a great platform to work from and he also attracts a lot of defenders which can open the game up for those around him.

"Greg's size and strength is adding such excitement there at fullback. He is changing the way the game is played."

Inglis was granted leave from the Rabbitohs camp after a death in the family in the lead up to today's match against Newcastle at ANZ Stadium.

The Rabbitohs, who look likely to play finals football for just the second time since 1987, face a resurgent Newcastle outfit buoyed by successive wins over Wests and Parramatta.

Manly hooker Matt Ballin has re-signed with the NRL club until the end of the 2015 season.

The move comes as the Sea Eagles attempt to shore up their playing roster after recently losing NSW backrower Tony Williams to Canterbury.

Ballin had been chased by a number of clubs including North Queensland and Canberra but the 28-year-old said he was always keen to stay.

- AAP

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