Bulldogs not in crisis: Graham

Canterbury captain Graham has dismissed talk the Bulldogs are in crisis mode after their 38-0 loss to the Panthers on the weekend handed the club their fourth successive loss.

‌Des Hasler's men have only won five of their last 17 games since the backend of the 2016 Telstra Premiership season and are in danger of missing the finals for the first time since 2012 with another loss on Monday afternoon against St George Illawarra.

With ongoing speculation surrounding Hasler, board issues and a reportedly unhappy playing group, a strongly-spoken Graham set the record straight before training on Wednesday.

"We take full responsibility and realise that results haven’t been at the level everyone expects here internally," Graham said.

"We've lost four in a row but we are halfway through the season with plenty still to play for.

"I don't buy into the narrative that we're a club in crisis whatsoever."

With speculation Hasler has lost the support of the players despite the club re-signing the premiership-winning coach back in April, the Bulldogs skipper was quick to put the rumour to bed and believed it was an easy excuse to use after poor results. 

Talk of fans turning their back on the side after 13 rounds has also surfaced online, however the 31-year-old was not sure what that was going to achieve.

"There is no truth to it and I don't get why anyone would say that," Graham said of the coaching rumours. 

"Sport is sometimes overanalysed a lot and people look for an excuse or a reason and I think people hold onto that.

"We just weren't good enough on the weekend and we've had a couple of performances like that but talk of us not wanting to play for a coach is not true.

"We share [the fans'] disappointment; I understand to some extent what they go through with distances some travel and what it means to them on a daily basis.

"They were here before I was and they'll still be here when I'm long gone. 

"They care and are passionate with a level of expectation so it's up to us as players to manage and reach that for them."

Graham confirmed club chairman Ray Dib addressed the players post-game, but said it was a regular occurrence for the side to openly discuss their performances regardless of the result.

"Like after every game win, lose or draw, we have a discussion about things we did well and didn't," he said.

"Ray did come into the change room, he's there every game and what he said I wouldn't repeat that because it's private.

"Des was there the whole time and we all spoke openly.

"You've got two people at the club that want results to change – that's how I look at it."

Canterbury's inability to attack has come under fire in the past 18 months and is again in the spotlight after only managing 10 points per game in their month of defeats.

Newcastle have scored more points (196) than Hasler's side and the Bulldogs (178) only fall behind Wests Tigers (164) in the attack department after 13 rounds.

Graham was reluctant to put it down to their style but rather the fundamentals of the game.

"Style in football doesn't lead to certain mistakes and doesn't account for missed and ineffective tackles," he said. 

"I think there is more than one way of a successful way to play and we need to strip back and look at some of the fundamental errors, rather than a style issue."

The Bulldogs will be boosted by the return of inspirational five-eighth Josh Reynolds from a hamstring injury and have won nine of their last 10 games against the Dragons.

"I can guarantee fans we've got a committed playing group and staff that are going to try and do everything they can to get the win," Graham said.

"We can't change [the past results] now but we can respond like we did against Brisbane.

"We've moved on from that game and look forward to seeing what we've learnt from that game and how we respond. 

"We don't want to give St George any added motivation but we're turning up on Monday… don't worry about that."