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Time to repay Pay: Napa says players owe debt to besieged coach

Dylan Napa says morale is strong in Canterbury's camp despite uncertainty about the future of coach Dean Pay.

Pay is off contract at the end of this season and the club's modest results this year has led to constant pressure on the coach about his future.

The club's board will meet on Thursday and Pay's position is expected to be discussed leading into Sunday's game against Wests Tigers.

Napa conceded there are some "distractions" but insisted the Dogs are focused and determined to repay their coach.

"There's always going to be chat when you're not going as well. We've got full support in Dean," Napa said.

"He's given us all of our opportunities so we want to repay him and play well for him. There are always going to be distractions but we've just got to control what we can control.

"He's been really solid. It's tough for him - there's pressure on a lot of us, not only our coach but a lot of players of ours to perform. We've felt the pressure but we're all here for each other and we've all got goals.

Match Highlights: Sharks v Bulldogs

"We all want to be successful and achieve that. We can't waste days by not getting around each other. We've got to back each other up and put in good performances."

The 15th-placed Dogs were gritty in losing 20-18 to Cronulla in round six on Sunday but Napa is far from satisfied.

"That's been sort of the story of the year, we've been close but not getting there which is disappointing," Napa said.

A bright spot for the Bulldogs in 2020 has been the emergence of outside back Jake Averillo, who is finding his feet after five games.

"I think I'm just getting used to the week in, week out grind of NRL and getting a bit more confidence in my ability," Averillo said.

The 19-year-old speedster has the perfect role model alongside him in fullback Will Hopoate, who was again outstanding against the Sharks.

"Every weekend he's probably one of our best performers. He's always training hard," Averillo said.

"I'm just trying to get around those older boys and pick their brains and see how to get my consistency for good performances."

Averillo said Canterbury must spring out of the blocks at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday, especially against a Tigers side that put 34 first-half points on North Queensland last week.

"They've got a lot of attacking strike. We need to start well, we haven't really started well our last couple of games and that's put us on the back foot," Averillo said.

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