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Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is in no doubt what the final nine games for the 2020 season mean for the Bulldogs.

While Steve Georgallis is at the interim helm of the NRL squad, Trent Barrett will be the new coach in 2021 and players need to perform to ensure they're part of the future.

"For Baz incoming we're all sort of on notice in how we play and what we can do," Watene-Zelezniak said on Monday.

"It'll be good for us going into the games ahead because we need that - we need to be at our best."

The Dogs registered a quality 18-12 win over the Knights in atrocious conditions on Sunday but it was only their second for the year and barring a highly unlikely late-season winning streak, they won't be playing finals which makes the remaining rounds so vital.

"It's awesome to get the win just with the losses we’ve had. The vibe at the team meeting [on Monday] was real good," Watene-Zelezniak said.

Match Highlights: Knights v Bulldogs

"I think that was a good confidence booster for us – just knowing our potential and what we can do if we complete [sets] and hold the ball."

The Kiwi international has worked with Georgallis and Barrett at Penrith, where he came through the ranks playing five-and-half seasons after his Telstra Premiership debut in 2014.

"[Georgallis] has been good for us since he's taken over. He's been real positive as it's been a tough couple of weeks with what's happened and what's gone on," he said, referring to Dean Pay's abrupt exit a fortnight ago.

Bulldogs: Round 11

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"The way he's handled it and the way the boys have reacted is pretty good.

"It's only been two weeks but he's put his belief in us and his faith in us to do the job. That’s one thing I've noticed – how calm he's been."

Canterbury centre Kerrod Holland is off contract at season's end and eager to please Georgallis and, in turn Barrett, but he is not letting it cloud his thoughts.

"I'm not thinking about it at all, to be honest. It's rugby league – it's the industry we're in. I was in the same position in 2017 when things were uncertain here," he said referring to when former coach Des Hasler parted ways with the club.

"If you worry about it, it's going to affect your job. I've got a good support system around me now with a wife and little one to keep me pretty grounded when I go home.

"The stress of football is obsolete when I go home – I've got to change dirty nappies.

Every try from round 11

"But Georgie brought me into the office and said 'Go out and have fun and the wins will come off the back of that'.

"So he's kept it really simple. He's also let me know… and Reimis [Smith] and Jake [Averillo] … that he's got a few options at centre-winger so if you're not performing then you'll find yourselves out of the team. He's been up front with that."

As for auditioning for Barrett: "Not really, mate. That's too far down the track. I'm looking at the Eels this week and if I get another opportunity that'd be great against Maika Sivo and Michael Jennings."

Bulldogs rookie Jake Averillo.
Bulldogs rookie Jake Averillo. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

That's Parramatta's left edge that Holland would have to contain. Averillo will have the Eels' right-side combination of Blake Ferguson and Waqa Blake.

Averillo is just glad to be back in the side after the young centre was forced into a two-week "break" due to a COVID-19 scare - his parents dined at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, which has been identified as a cluster for the virus but thankfully, all three tested negative.

"I couldn't really do much about that situation. I tried to stay positive and it was just lucky that I could keep coming to training after I was cleared," Averillo said.

Get Caught Up: Round 11

"It was just good to be able to be around the boys rather than just sitting in the hotel [in quarantine].

"[My parents] were just a bit upset that I couldn’t play because of the situation.

"It wasn't their fault as they couldn't do much about it. It was just an unfortunate situation."

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