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Titans and Bulldogs can still gain plenty from last six games

With finals footy gone for 2019, it's time for the bottom sides to throw in-depth game plans out the window and focus on one or two key things a week they really want to improve on for 2020.

For the Bulldogs and Titans, and to a lesser extent the Dragons, they now have six matches left to work on little parts of their games.

You can have as many opposed sessions as you like but nothing will ever compare to trying things out in the pressure cooker of an NRL game.

A lot of fans of those clubs will be losing interest in this year or thinking 'what's the point', and there's a chance that mentality could creep in for some of the players too, so they need something to work towards.

The coaches need to give them smaller goals to work on and give the squad something to work towards over the off-season.

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They could be defensive decision-making and alignment one week, pushing up and supporting in attack one week, another week it could be the ends to sets and fifth tackle options.

That's the only way I see the Bulldogs and Titans getting any little wins through the rest of the year.

If they keep trying to focus on big-picture things they'll keep finding it too hard to focus and put it all together and keep going down the same rabbit hole where nothing seems to work.

They need to forget about the scoreline and strip down the game plan but that doesn't mean stop trying to win – effort should be non-negotiable and the players should all be treating these last six games as if they're auditioning for spots next year, which a lot of them are.

Why the Men of League Foundation matters

As a player you should never take for granted any game in the NRL. For me as a retired player now who will never play NRL again I'd give anything to play one game for one of those teams at the bottom of the ladder right now.

So if you want to be an NRL player next year, start thinking about what you can do right, how you can build into next year and how you can improve.

Languishing at the bottom of ladder is not fun and you tend not to enjoy footy as much so go back to the drawing board and say, 'How can I enjoy this game, what can I work on that I can do and achieve that will make me feel good and enjoy the fact I'm out there?'

If enough guys do that across the board, go out there enjoying themselves, trying hard and working on their individual games, they might even string some wins together.

Every game is an audition, especially for the off-contract guys. It's often much easier to show commitment and effort and professionalism when you're playing in a team that down and out.

There are always people watching. If you're playing against the best teams and the best players it is just a good opportunity to show what you can do.


The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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