The New Zealand Warriors expect to feel the full brunt of Canterbury-Bankstown's off-season of frustration when they kick off their 2019 campaign on Saturday.
Fallout from the Mad Monday saga and the Dylan Napa leaked tapes have dominated discussion about the Bulldogs through the off-season, following a tough 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership season which saw them pick up just eight wins on route to a 12th-placed finish.
Warriors prop Agnatius Paasi told NRL.com that will only add fuel to the fire when the Canterbury run out at Mount Smart Stadium.
"It does [become an outlet]… they will try to leave that off the field, and once they step onto the field they are looking to rip in and try and forget what has happened in the past and move on," Paasi said.
"They have bought some new players, so it will be interesting to see what they bring out.
"If we go out there and do the right stuff on Saturday, if we can control them and their pack, then hopefully things will pan out the way we have been doing things at training."
Match: Warriors v Bulldogs
Round 1 -
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
The Warriors haven't been without off-field problems themselves this week, with news of young forward Isaiah Papali'i's drink driving offence – and subsequent one-game suspension by the club – coming out, along with new recruit Patrick Herbert being investigated by the club and NRL over an assault claim.
Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said the issues had been handled as well as possible and hadn't been a distraction.
"I thought the boys that had the dramas handled it pretty well, they went through the procedures, they spoke to the club, the club spoke to us real early, so it wasn't really a big issue for us," Tuivasa Sheck said.
Meanwhile assistant coach Stacey Jones said the coaching staff have set low expectations for debutant playmaker Adam Keighran, backing the two Kiwi internationals lining up next to the 21-year-old to guide him through the 80 minutes.
"We haven't put a huge amount of pressure on him to come up with big plays, we have got other players around the field who can do that," Jones said.
"He's got Tohu Harris outside him, Peta Hiku and Ken Maumalo, so sometimes he has just got to give some early ball to them and let them do some magic.
"We are not expecting miracles from him, and his game is based around being solid.
"For him, he's just got to make sure that he performs to a good level, knowing there's a couple of guys that are breathing down his neck."