Canterbury are hopeful a bye-weekend bonding camp will get them primed for the lead-in to the NRL finals.
Canterbury are banking on a bye-week bonding camp on the NSW north coast to have them primed for their assault on the NRL finals.
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler took his squad to Kingsclifff, just below the Queensland border, for three days last week to help invigorate their season before a vital 10-game stretch heading into the playoffs.
Canterbury surged to the NRL premiership lead early in the season after seven successive wins, but their season stalled somewhat at the start of the State of Origin period. They had three straight losses and were knocked off the top of the NRL ladder.
A tough win over Canberra in round 15 put the Dogs back on track, and prop James Graham said the time away gave them a valuable opportunity to take stock of their season.
“It was really good, actually,” the England representative said.
“We have been away a lot this year, but Des likes us to get away at least once a year to get out of Sydney, to get away together … a change of scenery more than anything.
“We turned up the volume in intensity and in parts he let us kick back and enjoy ourselves.
“It was nice to get away. The batteries are recharged.
“We have a block of 10 games before the business end so it was important to just freshen the troops up, get the boys together, go over what we have to do.”
Graham’s fellow Bulldogs bookend, Aidan Tolman, said the camp was a worthwhile exercise before his return for Friday’s match against premiership front runners Manly at ANZ Stadium.
“It was just good to get out of Sydney. It was the perfect opportunity with the bye,” he said.
“Everyone has come back refreshed, but it’s not done yet. We have a fair bit of the season to go yet.
“It was just one of those things we needed to get away … we had a couple of hard days of training and a few days off.”