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With 10 tackle busts and the costliest of 10 minutes in the sin bin, English import Luke Thompson summed up Trent Barrett and the Bulldogs' lot in recent times.

Thompson was in everything and in it up to his eyeballs in a 44-24 loss to Cronulla on Sunday, sparking two separate fightbacks with a first-half try and spirited 40-metre charge before setting up a Jake Averillo four-pointer.

The British lock finished with 180 running metres and 10 tackle busts as the most influential forward on the paddock.

But his 10-minute binning for a late shot on Blayke Brailey arguably had the most influence of all, with Cronulla running in three tries while Canterbury were down a man en route to a 30-6 half-time lead.

"It was harsh but we can't do it," Barrett said.

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Sharks

"You can't hit blokes late off the ball and Thommo's had a couple of them. We're not a team that can afford to have 12 blokes [when he's] in the bin."

The Bulldogs by all rights were cooked after "beating ourselves" in the first 40, before Thompson, captain Josh Jackson and Nick Meaney helped drag them back into the contest.

Again Thompson's performance proved somewhat prophetic for a last-placed side that has challenged the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Sharks across consecutive weeks.

Luke Thompson rampages straight through the Sharks middle to set up Averillo

The future is well and truly brightening after rough recent times.

Thompson's first six months at Belmore were all but a dog's breakfast, marred by coach Dean Pay's exit, suspensions and battles with homesickness amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 26-year-old has proven himself one of Canterbury's best performers in more recent times.

Meaney outjumps pack collecting Lewis kick to score

Barrett especially pointed to the influence Thompson and Jackson can have when more cavalry arrives, first with Adam Elliott close to returning from injury, and then when Tevita Pangai jnr, and potentially Paul Vaughan, join them next season.

"He's been really good for us all year, Thommo," Barrett said.

"I think his leg speed and footwork around the ruck's exceptional. He pulled us back into that game.

"This is really his first full season in [the NRL] and he's going to benefit from that and he's going to benefit from another pre-season.

"And he'll also benefit from us being a more disciplined side and getting an even share of possession.

"The more players we can put around him, Thommo's going to help. He's not the biggest body out there but he's certainly powerful and certainly got some good leg speed.

Meaney dominates in the air again and Napa gets a four-pointer

"We need to make sure we're putting the pieces around guys like Luke Thompson.

"In terms of his professionalism he's a good role model for our young blokes in how he prepares and you get what you get out there because he looks after himself through the week.

"He trains hard, he's diligent with how he trains prepares for his game and that's what we need all our squad to be doing."

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