A year ago, the Bulldogs had lost four games, all to the Warriors in round one.
But with the Warriors having lost their last two games and the Bulldogs still a long way away from making a mark, they had already won their opening series.
They were back in action in Round Four and they were back again, but with the Bulldogs having lost four of their first five games, it was time for a change.
With the game against the Roosters at the Gabba in round eight, the first game of the season was already in the books.
After an upset victory over the Raiders in round three, the team was in a decent spot.
In round four, the Warriors’ season was in serious doubt, as they went into the next round against the Knights and the Tigers.
However, with the Dragons, Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs all having already lost, the pressure on the Bulldogs was on to do the same.
It was the same story as round three.
The Bulldogs were in a bad spot, and with the loss of Matt Scott in round six, they were not the team they were at the start of the year.
But, the year started out great for the Bulldogs, who had won four games out of their last five against the Raiders, Knights and Bulldogs, but had not beaten any of their opposition.
They were one win away from winning their first grand final since 1999 and, with just two weeks to go before the start, they took a game away from the Dragons.
When you take a step back, you think: “We are going to get to the finals,” but when you go and look at the standings and the way the Bulldogs are currently sitting, it’s just the opposite.
Coach Nathan Buckley: “If you look at our team in the middle of this season, we have lost three of our last four games against teams that are not premiership contenders.”
“I have been very, very impressed with how we have come through this season and I am very pleased with the way we have been playing this season.”
What we’re seeing in 2018: The Bulldogs’ starting 11For the first time since 2008, the starting 11 for the Dragons had changed.
New head coach Nathan Buckley announced the changes in round 11, which saw the Dragons start the year with a four-man backline, which included Tom Trbojevic, Josh Dugan, Dylan Napa and James Maloney.
Dugan was the first to take the field, replacing Luke Kelly, and the Dragons looked a different team, with Maloney taking over as the No.8.
There were a few questions to be answered in the first two games, but it didn’t look like there would be a major change, with Jack Stockwell, Aaron Woods and Ben Reid also being given a chance.
While the Dragons lost one of their biggest players, Josh Jackson, to injury in round two, it wasn’t enough to slow down the Tigers’ pace.
“We know that if we are to win a series it is going to be down to our back line,” said Maloney in the post-match media conference.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do but if we can stay in the game, we’ll be fine.”
Maloney, who was named the Dragons’ best player in round four and played a big part in the Bulldogs’ win over the Rabbitoh’s, is in line to be the starting halfback for the rest of the Bulldogs season.
Aussie Rugby League boss Scott Sewell: “This team is a different unit to what we’ve had before.”
With a big change in line-up in round nine, the Dragons were in even worse shape than they were in round ten.
Andrew Fifita and James Tedesco were both injured in round 10 and neither player played in round 12, so the Dragons started the year without a key member.
Only two of the team’s three players were able to play at all in round 13, with Jake Granville being given the chance in the final round to start.
Ben Reid, the only player to start in round 15, was unable to play due to a shoulder injury and is expected to miss the rest the year after suffering a back injury in Round 12.
At the start and end of the game in round 14, it looked like the Dragons would be on top of the competition, but the Dragons missed the last four points, losing by 23 points to the Knights.
Then, in round 16, the Blues took a big step backwards.
Jarryd Hayne’s last touch from goal was a game-saving try, and after a good start to the season, the Tigers looked like they had taken a step backwards, finishing in third place.
As the season went on, it became clear that the Dragons could not keep up with the other teams and had to take a long look at