Bulldogs get bite back, telling clue about James Tedesco axing: Good, bad, ugly of NRL round 7

An eye-opening move from Michael Maguire might be bad news for the incumbent NSW State of Origin captain.

😃 The good: Bulldogs finally turning a corner under Ciraldo

😔 The bad: Huge sign James Tedesco won't be playing Origin

😡 The ugly: Parramatta descend to embarrassing new low

Bulldogs put Knights to the sword as things come good

For such a proud club, Canterbury has been on its knees for far too long. It's been 20 years since the Bulldogs won the competition and eight seasons since they played finals football.

When Phil Gould took over at Belmore, he warned it would take a long while for the good times to roll again. It was another of his famous five-year plans. This was a classic knockdown-rebuild, not a quick reno.

The Dogs' hit-job on Newcastle at Accor Stadium on Sunday speaks of better days ahead. It appears further proof Canterbury is on the upswing and a potential revival is genuine.

Stephen Crichton and Bulldogs teammates.
Stephen Crichton and the Bulldogs are finding some form.

They were absolute ruthless either side of the ball, scoring some brilliant tries and whacking the Knights in defence. It came a week after the Dogs pushed the Storm all the way in Melbourne, which followed a good win over the Roosters.

Coach Cameron Ciraldo seems to be growing into the job after a turbulent first year and the roster he wants is slowly coming together. Canterbury's massive fan base won’t get too carried away just yet – they want to see some consistency before they fully invest – but this team is giving them something to believe in. The bite might finally be matching the bark at Belmore.

Have we seen the last of James Tedesco in State of Origin?

The writing is on the wall for James Tedesco's Origin career. Teddy has been a wonderful servant for the Blues across 22 games, but there is a feeling within the game that his time in the sky blue jumper is up.

It was noticeable no current NSW player was on hand at a promotion last week to help sell Origin II at the MCG. The Maroons put up Harry Grant while the Blues trotted out Benny Elias, whose last Origin appearance was in 1994.

Blues officials claim player unavailability was the reason they didn’t ship someone down to Melbourne - or was it another sign new coach Michael Maguire is far from settled on his line-up and doesn’t want to give anything away? If he wanted Tedesco in the team – and to remain as skipper – you'd think he would have made a strong statement along those lines.

James Tedesco alongside Harry Grant, Billy Slater, Michael Maguire and Benny Elias.
James Tedesco was nowhere to be seen as Queensland sent Harry Grant and NSW sent Benny Elias. Image: Getty

But the mail is the coach may kick-start his Origin career by shaking things up and omitting some of the players who have been part of back-to-back series losses. Tedesco's form for a hot and cold Roosters side has been passable, but the likes of Dylan Edwards and Tom Trbojevic are presenting stronger cases for the No.1 jumper.

As for the captaincy, it could come down to outstanding Penrith duo Nathan Cleary or Isaah Yeo if Tedesco is left out. It will be a big call but one Madge won't be afraid to make.

Eels fans call for change after humiliating defeat

Parramatta's premiership window opened briefly for a few years but has now shut tight. Not even Zac Lomax's arrival next year will spark a revival on the evidence we've seen over the past season and a bit.

After reaching the 2022 grand final only to go down to the Panthers, there was genuine hope the Eels would continue to press for premiership honours. But after finishing 10th last year and limping to a 3-4 record so far this season, Parramatta's problems look terminal.

Friday night's 44-16 loss to the Dolphins was as bad as it gets. Some players simply gave up. Coach Brad Arthur admitted it wasn't up to NRL standard. It’s got diehard fans wondering if the premiership drought – currently sitting at 38 years - will ever end.

They are livid at what was dished up in Darwin (just quietly, maybe it’s time to ditch that sweatbox no matter how much money they throw at the club) and they are questioning where the club is headed under Brad Arthur. He took them to three finals appearances in the lead-up to that 2022 grand final but seems to have squeezed all the juice from the orange. BA's got a year to run on his deal but you have to wonder if the pin could be pulled early if there's not a remarkable turnaround.

Check back in every Monday throughout the NRL season for Adam Lucius' 'Good, Bad and Ugly' column.