Pay: 'Our effort was good, but execution needs to be better'
Canterbury coach Dean Pay has praised his side's commitment after an 18-6 loss to Manly at Lottoland on Saturday night - but lamented a failure to convert a mountain of first-half possession into points.
The Bulldogs were on the right end of 55% of possession and a 7-3 penalty count – including a sin-bin for Sea Eagles half Trent Hodkinson – but even with a one-man advantage could not make a heap of attacking possession count on the scoreboard.
"We had an opportunity to put some pressure on them and create some opportunities but we weren't good enough there in the first half," Pay said post game.
"Six points wasn't good enough then it turned around in the second half, they (Manly) took their opportunities and put a lot of pressure on us and that's where their points came from.
"The boys just kept fighting all the way but they do it each and every week. In saying that we need to be better with how we're executing, what we're doing down the other end of the field and building pressure on them. We need to get better at that."
Pay admitted the team missed the kicking game and energy of rookie half Lachlan Lewis, who was a game-day withdrawal for undisclosed personal reasons but is expected to return next week.
"Of course, he (Lewis) has been a big part of our team over the last month and we missed his kicking game tonight," he said.
"His overall energy in what he does. He's a really good talker. We missed that quite a bit but we need to get better as a team as well."
Asked about the big drop in performance from last week when the team produced their best performance of the year in a 36-22 upset of Brisbane, Pay again stressed the effort was there.
"To defend our goal line, I think they had seven sets on us at one stage and just keep turning up, then when they did score it was on the last tackle as well," he said.
"The effort's enormous but we need to execute what we're doing when we're getting down their end of the field and we need to be better at executing what we're doing."