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Lewis eyes returning Dogs to finals

Playmaker Lachlan Lewis says he wants to guide Canterbury to the NRL finals this season, despite the fact they're tipped for the wooden spoon.

Lewis eyes returning Dogs to finals

Playmaker Lachlan Lewis says he wants to guide Canterbury to the NRL finals this season, despite the fact they're tipped for the wooden spoon.

LACHLAN LEWIS of the Bulldogs kicks the match winning field goal during the NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
LACHLAN LEWIS of the Bulldogs kicks the match winning field goal during the NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

They've been pegged as wooden-spoon favourites but Lachlan Lewis predicts Canterbury will be the new entertainers this NRL season.

After rattling a few cages in the back-end of an otherwise disastrous 2018 campaign, the Bulldogs are set to buck the trend of often-derided structured football, predictable block plays and slow ruck speed.


For years fans and commentators have bemoaned that the game has become too predictable - players are ordered to stick to "channels" and games have descended into wrestle-fests.

But Lewis, who is set to partner Kieran Foran in the halves, says the Bulldogs have built a game plan around intuition, playing what's in front of them and not being afraid to chance their arm.

"It's a high-tempo, not pre-meditated game plan. It's eyes up, running flat, running fast," Lewis said.

Lewis says coach Dean Pay had recognised that teams had adapted and learned how to read attacking shapes.

He pointed to the success they had in wins against Brisbane, Warriors, St George Illawarra and Wests Tigers late in the 2018 season when they were given licence to play off-the-cuff footy.

"Dean's been a real visionary," Lewis said.

"We went through the whole Melbourne slow-the-ruck saga to highly structured block plays to catch defenders out. Defence is getting too good now. There's too many good defensive centres and wingers who can shut things down.

"The way we kind of picked up with it at the end of the year, it really shook up some teams. The Broncos game, the Warriors game, St George even. It could be the way of the future."

This time last year Lewis, the nephew of Immortal Wally, wasn't even in the club's top 30 and his path to first-grade looked blocked.

It was only when Moses Mbye was forced out for salary cap reasons that he earned his opportunity and grasped it with both hands.

He has his first daughter on the way in May, a burgeoning baby clothes business to keep him busy off the field and has set lofty goals for himself over the next few years.

"I think, if I can, I want to take the team to the finals," Lewis said.

"And with no timeline here, I want to play State of Origin. You can sense with my family it's a huge thing.

"Finals this year, being an underdog. I'd love that."

AAP


AAP




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