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Bulldogs centre Will Hopoate.

The latest crackdown to try to rid the game of head-high tackles would only continue the lop-sided results, according to Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett, and potentially turn the NRL into a game of Oz Tag.

Barrett made the comments after his side was eclipsed 20-18 by an under-manned Raiders side, but he stressed the latest rule change "wasn't the reason we lost".

But he holds fears for the way rugby league is heading if the game is continually quickened in pace.

"You don’t like seeing uneven contests," Barrett said.

"Even before these rules were in [this weekend], the six-to-go rule and others have changed the game dramatically as it is.

"We’ve seen some really lopsided results and this is just going to make it worse. If that’s what they want that’s what’s going to happen. I don’t know if that’s good for the game."

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Raiders

Magic Round games have been highlighted by the number of sin-binnings and players placed on report for head-high contact.

The Bulldogs didn't capitalise on a three-minute period the Raiders were down to 11 men, after Josh Papalii was sent off while Jack Wighton was also in the sin-bin.

"There were some things in there during that period that you just can’t do," Barrett said. "We need to learn how to win again. That was there to be won."

But he reserved his strongest criticism for the direction the game is taking in relation to head contact.

"It's a contact sport and it's pretty hard not to touch anyone's head or neck when you're tackling someone with or without the ball. It's going to happen; it’s impossible not to," he said.

"We’re all aware of it, bearing in mind most of us coaches played as well. I knew I’d get hit in the head occasionally and I was fine with that.

"There's no thuggery in the game any more. There’s no swinging arms or elbows. It's not like it was in the 80s.

"No-one goes out intentionally to do it. It will turn into a game of Oz Tag if that’s what they want – and that’s the concern. We’ve got a great game but if you keep changing the rules then who knows where it will end up."

Barrett said the game was quickening up at too rapid a rate.

Watene-Zelezniak scores just before full time

"More space creates more fatigue. More fatigue will create poor technique. Poor technique will lead to more injuries and more loose arms and more hits in the head, shoulders or knees.

"That’s the reality of it. We’ve created it but I don’t know if it’s a better product or not."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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