The cavalry is coming, with Canterbury confirming Matt Dufty as their latest recruit for 2022, but Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett believes his side will win more matches this season if they play like they did against Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs lost 22-16 but little separated the two teams and they had little go their way at Bankwest Stadium.
"I thought we were in it for long enough to win it there at the end," Barrett said.
"I didn’t think we were given a chance too, with the amount or lack of possession we had in the second half.
"The six-to-goes were 10-5 against us and with the penalties, we were on the wrong end again. We can’t seem to get any luck at the moment, with any of that. It generally happens when you are not winning. And the side that we are at the moment, we need them.
Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Roosters
"To get that close to the Roosters I thought was a terrific effort. We certainly weren’t beaten on effort or energy," Barrett said.
"They competed really hard, we just didn’t have any ball or field position in the second half to be able to put them away."
Lachlan Lewis provided spark in attack after replacing Kyle Flanagan in the halves and Barrett confirmed that he planned to stick with him and Jake Averillo as Canterbury’s scrum-base combination.
Lewis scored two tries off his own kicks, including a chip and chase near the Roosters line, and his general positional kicking stood out. It was his first game back in the NRL side since round nine.
"I thought he added something, and I was really happy for him," Barrett said. "He has had a really disrupted season; he had bad head knocks after the Souths game and he had a punctured lung so he hasn’t really been available to be picked and I thought he did really well.
"I just thought that for this game his kicking game was going to be important and he did some good things."
However, next season the Bulldogs will have Penrith play maker Matt Burton, centre Brent Naden, and Melbourne winger Josh Add-Carr to add some strike to a backline also likely to feature rookie centre Aaron Schoupp and 17-year-old Paul Alamoti.
Dufty is tipped to join them on a one-year deal after the speedster was recently told by St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin that he would not be offered a new contract for next season.
Barrett plans to stick with refreshed Lewis and Averillo combination
"There have been some discussions. I am not aware of any events today but we will find out more tomorrow, I think," Barrett said.
"The game is lending itself to players with X-factor at the moment and he has certainly got that.
"Addo-Carr, Burton, Naden, you have got young blokes here like Schoupp, who is a 19-year-old kid, and we have got a good young centre in Paul Alamoti so there is some green shoots coming and there are some good things coming at the club. We have just got to keep punching."