Canterbury coach Dean Pay says the Bulldogs are in the position to carry forward the momentum from the 2019 season after winning five of their last six NRL games.
Robbie Farah’s final weeks in the NRL are in danger and the Wests Tigers’ finals hopes were dented by a shock 18-16 defeat to Canterbury on Saturday night.
Farah limped from the field in the first half at Bankwest Stadium after injuring his right knee when he became tangled with Lachlan Lewis in a tackle.
It headlined a horror night for the Wests Tigers, who led 8-0 at half-time before Paul Morirovski missed a last-minute conversion kick that would have sent the match to golden point.
It marked a cruel end to the night for the winger, who had earlier scored twice before shanking his goal kick from 15m to the left of the posts.
Tigers captain Moses Mbye also left the field with a quad injury in the eighth minute and didn’t return, after he was earlier hurt in the warm up.
Farah then went down three times in the opening 25 minutes, with initial fears he’d hurt his medial ligament or suffered meniscus damage.
Both he and Mbye will now go for scans to determine what part they can play in the Tigers’ finals charge.
It comes after starting prop Josh Aloiai was ruled out of the match on Friday with a hand injury.
But while those casualties leave crucial gaps on the field, it’s on the ladder where the Tigers are hurting just as much.
A win over the lowly-ranked Bulldogs would have seen them stay in the top eight with four rounds to play, but they’ll now finish the weekend 10th and one point adrift.
They have the high-flying Manly on Thursday night at Lottoland, before finishing with Newcastle, St George Illawarra and Cronulla.
Aiming to end the longest current finals drought in the NRL dating back seven years, the Tigers looked on course to stay in the top eight at halftime.
But from there the Bulldogs scored three straight tries in first 13 minutes of the second half.
Josh Jackson had their first with a nice line on the right edge in the 43rd minute, before Jeremy Marshall-King buried his way over from dummy-half five minutes later.
Nick Meaney then made it 18-8 when he intercepted a no-look Benji Marshall pass and sprinted 90 metres to score.
But after scoring the Tigers’ first in the seventh minute, Momirovski had them back in the match with eight minutes to play when he stepped his way over from a lofted Luke Brooks cut-out ball.
The margin was down to two when Luke Garner crossed in the 78th minute with the Bulldogs down to 12 men due to a Chris Smith sin bin.
However when Momirovski’s conversion attempt went to the left the Tigers’ finals hopes were suddenly in serious trouble.