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Bulldogs back-rower Corey Waddell.

Bulldogs forward Corey Waddell drops back to the bench this week but hopes to build towards being an 80-minute player as the 2021 season wears on.

The former Sea Eagles started on an edge in the 32-16 loss to the Knights last Friday before moving to the middle then getting an early shower midway through the second half.

But, playing under his old junior coach Trent Barrett, Waddell believes he is in the best environment to push himself to another level.

He said the round one plan was always to start on the edge, move in tight once the rotations started then be interchanged.

"I knew I would start on an edge, hopefully have a good start there and then when the boys start fatiguing in the middle ... go in the middle and try and bring a bit more energy and stay in it for as long as I can," he said.

"I'm an edge back-rower that can play a bit of middle so wherever he needs me to be, whether that's on an edge or in the middle, I'm happy to fill that role.

Bulldogs v Panthers - Round 2

"How it works around the team with injuries and stuff, they're always going to happen. I'm ready to fill that role. [Barrett] keeps it pretty simple for me, go out there, run hard, tackle hard, plenty of talk and energy."

Waddell said he will "definitely" look to increase his workload as the year goes on.

"I came to the Bulldogs expecting to be an 80-minute player," he said.

"I know there's a lot I need to work on to be able to do that but it's early in the season. It's going to be hard to get there, especially if I am going in the middle but I know I can get there and that's where I want to be. I want to be an 80-minute player, that's where I want to get to."

And he had nothing but praise for the coach that brought him through as a junior out west.

"This is my first year having him as my head coach but I was obviously a Penrith junior, I came through the Penrith system there when he was coaching at Penrith so he's seen me through the juniors," he said.

"I guess he's kept an eye on me from there and wanted me to come over to the Bulldogs. It's first time (having him) as a head coach but he's always been there for advice when I need it.

"He's a really good attacking coach, he's worked on his defensive structures as well. He's a really easy coach to talk to.

"For me that's a really good thing, I can go up to him and ask him for advice whenever I want and if there's something in my game I need to improve on he's really helpful and knows how to put it to me in a way I can work on it simply.

"He's signed me for three years so I'm ready to pay that back to him."

Every try from round 1

Waddell said despite the loss in round one, there were a few positives to take forward, including the impressive form of new halfback Kyle Flanagan, who set up all three tries.

"The more we watch the video the more positives we got out of it," he said.

"Flano is a young half and I thought he played really well. He steered us around the park really good and for our first game together I think we can be positive about it.

"We only had three good-ball sets on their line and each time we were attacking good and we scored [three] tries. If we can get an even share of ball and give ourselves every chance we'll find the points, then we just need to learn how to defend them."


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