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Bulldogs prop Tevita Pangai jnr.

The chance to work under Origin coaching legend Phil Gould Bulldogs recruit Tevita Pangai jnr eyeing a push into the NSW side this year.

The Tongan international was born in Australia and grew up around Newcastle and has been spoken of as a possible Origin player for several years now.

Gould took on the Bulldogs' GM of football role mid-last year and has taken a hands on role with the club across both the NRL side and player development, and Pangai said he has already benefitted from some mentoring.

"'Gus' spoke to me about what it takes to be an Origin player," Pangai said.

"He's got that aura about him, a bit scary when he pulls you up and tries to talk to you! He's been good to have around the club and every time he speaks, everyone listens, like motivational talks.

"'Baz' (coach Trent Barrett) and Gus have spoken to me about doing all the little things, what makes a good player and what makes an Origin player. I think I'm at the right club to do that under Gus and under Baz."

That includes building his minutes: since missing round one with hamstring tightness Pangai's two matches have yielded 50 and 46 minutes spread across multiple stints.

Storm v Bulldogs

"He said when he was coaching Origin he only picked 80 minute players," Pangai added.

"If an injury happens you know you've got to play 80. He wants me to get to that point where I can play big minutes."

Pangai hopes to build on that in the coming weeks.

"I think that (playing in short bursts) is the goal at the moment until I get my match fitness back," he added.

"Hopefully in the next couple of weeks my minutes can start to pick up and I can do a job for longer for my team."

That job will most likely continue to be at prop, regardless of if he continues to run out in the number 12 as he has the past two games.

"I'm a front rower, that's where I play my best footy. It's more simple in there, all I've got to think about is running hard and tackling hard," he said.

The occasionally prolific offloader created second-phase options seven times in round two and none in round three. He said that was a case of playing to match conditions in torrential rain at 4 Pines Park.

"My first thought is just to run hard, if the offload presents itself then [I will], obviously on the weekend it was a bit wet," he said.

"I don't go out there trying to get 10 offloads a game, my first thought is to run hard and go from there."

A real feature of the Bulldogs' perforamnces across three games has been that, despite a struggle to score points, they've shown a real resilience in defence which was on full display when turning away set after set on their own line against Manly.

"Defensively we've been in a good team spirit but we need to click with our attack, that's on us forwards to lay a platform and bring out the best of Matt Burton, Matt Dufty and Brandon Wakeham," Pangai added.

NRL Teams: Storm v Bulldogs

"The more we train together and the more games we get under our belts - we've learned a lot the last three weeks of what we need to do attacking-wise. Hopefully that comes to fruition sooner rather than later."

Fellow prop Luke Thompson is in his third season at Belmore and has also been buoyed by the uptick defensively, with the 33 points conceded in three games the team's best return at this stage of a season since 1993.

"We've got an average of 11 points per game to start the season so that's really good," Thompson said.

"If we can do that and turn up with that attitude in our defence I think we're gonna win a lot more than we lose.

"The last two weeks we've missed out by a couple of points or a try so as long as we've got that defensive attitude and maybe tidy up a bit of attack and get our combinations together for longer period of time, we'll be good."

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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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