DWZ fails to finish but looms as Dogs' long-term No.1

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak couldn't finish his first outing in blue and white due to a head knock that left him unable to see out of one eye, but is expected to reclaim Canterbury's No.1 jersey when he returns from New Zealand Test duties.

Watene-Zelezniak's first game for the Bulldogs – a 38-12 loss to the Roosters on Sunday – was cut short after 55 minutes when friendly fire from Dylan Napa resulted in him wearing the Queensland prop's knee to the head in a tackle.

The former Panther passed his HIA but did not return to the field due to his eye being closed over, however the Bulldogs are confident he will be fit for the Kiwis' clash with Tonga on Saturday in Auckland.

Despite being named at centre earlier in the week, Watene-Zelezniak was strong at fullback against the Roosters as Nick Meaney shifted to the wing, with coach Dean Pay to reassess the selection headache after Canterbury's rep round bye.

"We'll address it as we go," Pay said.

"We just thought with the situation today, I thought he could bring the ball back a little bit harder than what Nick's been bringing the ball back.

"They're two different players. They've both got different strengths so moving forward we'll address that."

Watene-Zelezniak has long made his preference of playing fullback known, but he and Pay have been adamant he was not promised Canterbury's No.1 jersey  before moving from Penrith.

The Kiwis incumbent rattled up a team-high 176 running metres from 21 carries against the Roosters before being forced from the field.

"I thought he was good," Pay said. "We busted them a couple of times and Jeremy [Marshall-King] just couldn't get a pass to him. He supported really well and did some good things, he brought the ball back really strong.

"His first game for the club was really encouraging. I think the boys really enjoyed playing with him."