Veteran back-rower Tony Williams has admitted his poor form had let down Bulldogs coach Des Hasler prior to his side's 34-16 win over the Dragons on Monday.
Following what he called "the best game" of his four-year Bulldogs career, a frank Williams wasn't hiding from the fact his form hadn't been up to scratch in recent seasons up until his barnstorming 190-metre display against the Red V.
Williams ended a five-week NRL hiatus on Monday after being dropped to the Intrust Super Premiership in May before injuring his hamstring at training three weeks ago.
The 27-year-old former New South Wales representative earned a reprieve for the Bulldogs with Adam Elliott unavailable, with his performance – including his bizarre try assist for Will Hopoate's 60th-minute try – going a long way to repay the faith Hasler had shown in him.
"I know and would be stupid not to think that [I've let Des down]. I know I have," Williams said.
"Not purposely, but just in ways of how I've played. I'm not making excuses, I just haven't turned up.
"I reckon my performance was probably the best game I've ever played for the club. It took a while [to repay the faith]. Maybe a bit too late.
"But I'm just happy I get to play with my brothers again and that's all that matters at the moment."
Hasler is all Williams has ever really known as an NRL mentor, having played under him for seven of his nine seasons in first grade at both Manly and Canterbury.
Williams went as far to say that Hasler had been a father figure to him and was confident that with his guidance he'll only continue to improve for the Bulldogs.
"Say what you will about him, Des has been there for the majority of my career bar at Parramatta where I started. Des knows me back to front and it would've been frustrating for him to see how I've struggled," Williams said.
"My performance against the Dragons would've been a relief to him – I think he was really happy for me and for what I did.
"These last few years I've dropped away from what my strengths were. But I know for a fact too that'll I only get better. I know they're still in there and I think against the Dragons I showed glimpses of what I can still do so."
The off-contract Williams is still holding out hope he'll be able extend his Bulldogs career into 2017 and beyond.
"I'd love to remain here but it's a business and whatever happens, happens," he said. "I just have to do the best for myself and my family."