Canterbury-Bankstown 12 Sydney Roosters 30
The have Bulldogs failed to live up to some of the promise emanating from their first round clash against premiership favourites Melbourne Storm and have suffered a rather convincing loss to the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
The essential difference between the two performances lies in one simple fact. Against Melbourne the blue and whites were competitive and engaged throughout the battle. Against the Roosters however, they were never in the contest and from the early moments when Latrell Mitchell and Daniel Topou broke away down the left hand edge, it looked a long day at the office for the boys from Belmore.
Whilst there has been much hope and positivity around the squad, with the new coach undoubtedly freeing up the attack, the defensive effort of the Dogs has been poor thus far and an urgent area of attention for the coaching staff.
An 18-0 first half lead could have, in fact, been wider, as the Roosters clinically put the visitors to the sword in the first forty. After a shock loss to the Tigers last week, it was an expected reaction from a side that should be playing finals football in 2018.
A Matt Frawley break from a defensive error by Victor Radley saw Josh Morris score after 58 minutes and the Bulldogs seemed momentarily energised. However two late tries to the chooks put pay to any thoughts of a comeback and even a late, well deserved try to Josh Jackson was nowhere near enough.
Most concerning for Canterbury was the lack of impact. Will Hopoate looks like a blunt weapon in the centres right now and despite their best efforts, the Morris twins just aren’t providing the potentcy in attack required to threaten well organised defences.
David Klemmer and Josh Jackson are working hard up front, yet the poor defensive reads from others and very little to offer from the bench is translating into a pack that has been managed easily by both the Storm and the Roosters.
I am on public record with my criticism of Aaron Woods and will stand by it at this stage. As a marquee, the club needs far more from a supposed representative enforcer. The number of soft, flop tackles as opposed to aggressive hit and stick defence has always been noticeable in his game. In addition, his unwillingness to play the ball correctly and his loose carry that saw more errors on Friday, will undoubtedly cost the team at some stage this season.
Whilst the jury is still out to some extent and his impact could yet improve, more is required from the big man. Forget the numbers, it is his impact with which we will all be impressed should it become more valuable.
Kieran Foran and Matt Frawley are working together reasonably well yet behind a monstered pack, their efforts are fruitless.
Social media has lit up with fans fearing a repeat of the mediocre 2017, the smart money was on that well before now. Pay needs to keep the work ethic high and chip away at positional changes and selections in order to get the best from a squad that isn’t really capable of threatening the top teams right now.
The scope for improvement is immense and something for which true Dogs’ fans will stick around. It all starts next Friday at ANZ Stadium when the Bulldogs take on the Panthers in a match looming as a must win.
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