Bulldogs coach Des Hasler may be forced to dig through his stockpile of makeshift five-eighths once again with Canterbury No.6 Josh Reynolds placed on report twice in a disappointing 41-10 loss to the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Barba defends Reynolds brain snap
Barba defends Reynolds brain snap
With his team trailing 20-10 and attacking the Brisbane line, Reynolds' first indiscretion was to lash out with his feet in the direction of Broncos forward Sam Thaiday in the 51st minute and he was placed on report again 19 minutes later with an ugly challenge on opposite number Ben Barba.
As Barba tried to get on the outside of the Bulldogs defence, Reynolds kicked out with his right boot and struck his Broncos counterpart on the lower leg, the length of his suspension likely to be determined by whether the match review committee view it as a kicking or tripping offence.
To top off a poor evening for the New South Wales No.6, he was sin-binned with three minutes remaining for repeated indiscretions and then kicked a chair on his return to the dressing room, although that bit of footwork won't come under the eye of the match review committee.
The base points for a Grade 1 tripping charge starts at 75 points while a Grade 1 kicking charge draws a 200-point penalty and as they cling to a place in the top eight his teammates need any stint on the sideline to be a brief one.
He may not be the only Bulldogs casualty to come from the clash with prop Sam Kasiano to have scans on a possible ankle syndesmosis injury and Dale Finucane will be assessed during the week after leaving the field with concussion.
Reynolds was unavailable for comment after the match but coach Des Hasler said it was an ill-disciplined display that he will have to learn from.
"He had a bad night. He had a tough night, he's well aware of that," Hasler said. "A little bit of frustration probably got the better of him tonight but he's not like that, he's not that type of player.
"It's a tough lesson he learned tonight, he'll cop his medicine and he'll get on with it."
With Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson in the halves through 10 rounds the Bulldogs were sitting pretty on the top of the table but a procession of pivots over the past three months has coincided with a slide down the ladder.
Chase Stanley, Josh Jackson and Tony Williams have each been used at five-eighth since Round 11 as Reynolds has been absent first with State of Origin commitments and then through a three-week suspension coming out of Origin III.
It was the type of ill-discipline you might expect from a player coming to terms with the mental fatigue of his first full Origin Series but Bulldogs and Blues teammate Josh Morris insists three weeks on the sidelines had given him the break he may have needed.
"He was hurting probably just as much as me seeing the boys losing and had a chance to come back last week and he probably overplayed his hand a little bit just because that's the type of player he is," said Morris, who was playing his first game for Canterbury since Round 10. "He wants to be involved in everything... This week I thought he did some good things and there's obviously those challenges he's got to face now. Who knows what the judiciary will do with them.
"'Grub' had three weeks off and that freshened him up and he was ready to play and last week he was probably guilty of trying too hard to get the boys over the line and that's just Grub.
"He always wants to win and he competes well and sometimes he lands himself in hot water like tonight."
Despite Hasler speaking with referees boss Tony Archer during the build-up the Bulldogs finished on the wrong side of a 12-6 penalty count which coupled with 13 errors allowed the Broncos to spend almost 50 minutes of the game camped inside the Bulldogs half.
"I spoke to Tony during the week and they obviously came up with some wrong calls last week but again we've got to look at it," Hasler said after his side's fourth consecutive loss.
"I don't know what the penalty count finished up but that's just something that we've got to fix. I think the penalty count on the back of the unforced errors makes it difficult."