Bulldogs fail to fire the afterburners in Tigers win
Canterbury coach Des Hasler says his side failed to test the afterburners for next week's monster clash against South Sydney after falling asleep late in their 30-10 victory over the Wests Tigers on Thursday night.
On a wet and miserable night in Sydney, the Bulldogs raced out to a 24-0 lead inside the half hour mark but were outscored for the final 50 minutes as they took their foot off the gas and rested a few of their big name stars.
"Yeah, it was probably an opportunity to go on with it in the second half a bit," Hasler said post-game. "But in saying that, we executed probably a bit better in the first half. It was just a matter of probably staying healthy towards the end there and we rested a few blokes."
Ever the perfectionist, the 11th-year coach was disappointed with a poor finish to the match as the Tigers took second-half honours by converting a Bulldogs turnover into points late in the game.
"The disappointing [part] was probably the end, a 12-point turnaround. We should've scored six at the other end, [but] we kicked in-field and six tackles later they put the ball down over our tryline," he said.
Skipper Michael Ennis admitted his team struggled to maintain focus after their hot start, but was pleased with their execution when the game was still live.
"Sometimes it happens," he said. "But one area I was really pleased with was our first half, in terms of the way we stuck to our processes and what we needed to do.
"And on the back of that came points. We didn't try and force points. We earned them, which was good. But as Des said, in the second half, neither side really played any stable football. It was errors, [and it was] pretty stop-start, to be honest."
It was also a missed opportunity to improve their points differential of +15, easily the lowest of any team in the top eight.
"I guess you could say that," said halfback Trent Hodkinson. "We're struggling in for-and-against at the moment, but if we keep winning, it'll look after itself. We can't focus too much on that."
Hasler described next Thursday night's opponents, South Sydney, as the "premiership favourites" who have been playing "outstanding footy".
After securing back-to-back wins, Ennis said it was a chance for the Bulldogs to measure themselves against a competition heavyweight.
"It's a great opportunity, [they're] probably the form side of the comp. So it's a good opportunity to test where we're at."
Fullback Sam Perrett failed to return to the field for the second half after sustaining a rib injury from an Ava Seumanufagai shot in the first, but is of no major concern.
The Bulldogs have seven days to prepare for the clash with the Rabbitohs, before finishing the regular season against the Titans on the Gold Coast.