Morris: Des will think of something
Josh Morris may be at a loss to explain the error-riddled displays that have the Bulldogs teetering on the edge of the top eight but he has full faith that coach Des Hasler will find a way to get their top four push back on track.
Canterbury need to break a four-game losing streak when they face the ninth-placed Eels on Friday night with Parramatta in a position to jump ahead of them on the ladder with a win at Pirtek Stadium. The Bulldogs will unlikely have the services of Sam Kasiano (ankle injury) or Josh Reynolds with Reynolds awaiting any possible charges from the match review committee after twice being placed on report.
It's a far cry from their position of a month ago when they were equal with Manly and Penrith on the top of the table and with a four-point break to fourth position but after last Friday's 41-10 loss to the Broncos they are staring at five straight losses for the first time under Hasler's stewardship.
Heading into Round 19 the Bulldogs had committed the least number of errors of every team in the competition but 50 in their past four games indicates a simple problem that is proving difficult to overcome.
"We're killing ourselves, we're shooting ourselves in the foot," Morris said after his first game back from the knee injury suffered in Origin I back in May.
"We're not completing our sets, our offloads aren't sticking and the ball's not bouncing our way. We're just going through a patch where we're getting no luck and when we are creating something the ball goes to ground and it's a turnover.
"These are simple errors that we're making week in and week out and if we just hold onto the ball rather than trying to offload it and try to work for that quick play-the-ball it can make a massive difference to our game.
"At the moment we're pushing passes and thinking we need to win off every play. We're not getting the bounce of the ball but we're not playing that well to get it as well.
"Maybe we just tape our hands to the ball if we can. Dessie will come up with something, no doubt, but it's us as the players that have got to follow it and we're probably not doing that."
The Bulldogs finished on the wrong side of all key statistics against the Broncos last week with 13 errors and a 12-6 penalty count contributing to getting just 44 per cent of possession and having to make a total of 61 more tackles than their opponents.
They started strongly in both halves and at 20-10 early in the second half had wrested away momentum from the home side but the first of Josh Reynolds' two brain snaps invited the Broncos to assume control, which they did so happily.
The Bulldogs lost three games in a row during the Origin period and four in a row early last season and captain Michael Ennis is convinced that there is enough time to arrest their slide and still make an impression in September.
"Again it's just the fact that we're turning over far too much possession and at this time of the year sides are in gear and if you give a quality side a lot of football on your line... You can do it for a while but it becomes difficult when you continually do it," he said.
"That's our biggest killer at the moment, we're not controlling the football and then on the back of that some penalty counts and that going against us then it just sort of snowballs.
"We just really need to fine tune and get back to training on Monday. There's a month to go, there's a long way to go and we've certainly got the guys in the room capable of turning it around.
"We know what's required, we've been and done it this year already, so it's not beyond us, we just need to nail it."
Ahead of his first game back last week Morris said that there was a noticeable lift in the levels of intensity at training and that with assignments against the Eels, Wests Tigers, Rabbitohs and Titans over the final month, every game takes on greater meaning.
"Every game from now on is a big game for us. We did so well to get ourselves into a good position and now we're fighting to stay in the eight. Every game is crucial from here on in," Morris said.
"Training [last] week was really good, our intensity has been picked up. I was in the cardio room for most of those losses so I didn't get to see the boys on the field but I know this week they spoke about picking up the intensity at training and it was, it was really sharp and really crisp so this [loss] is a tough one to take."