The Eels know they not only need to win this evening, but they'll also be relying on other teams losing to make the 2011 finals series despite there being 8 games remaining in the season.
Losing tonight's match against the Bulldogs will put an end to any hope of making the finals.
Much has been said about the apparent gap in quality between the top four teams and the rest of the comp, but that is not stopping the remaining 12 teams from fighting for the right to play in September.
"They've (the bulldogs) had a big change last week with Kevvy moving on," Kearney said.
"From our point of view, if there's one thing we know about the Dogs, is that when they have their backs against the wall they come out and do the things that make them a wonderful club.
"They'll come out fighting and that's what we're expecting."
Kearney was matter-of-fact when it was suggested to him improvement alone will not guarantee a finals spot this year.
"Doing the maths, that's an obvious fact," Kearney said.
"For us, if the focus is on eight weeks time it takes the focus off what's important tomorrow night.
"Our focus is to worry about what we need to do tomorrow night."