When Luke Brailey took on the cause and fought to return the Bulldogs to their spiritual home via the ‘Back to Belmore’ campaign, I’m sure he was hoping the yearly returns to the traditional suburban ground would go a little more smoothly than they have.
Saturday afternoon was no exception to the recent pattern, as a rather weak performance against the Gold Coast Titans saw the blue and whites suffer their eleventh loss of the season, to the tune of 32-10.
For the first time this season, the Bulldogs dropped their bundle and the first-half performance was as bad as the team has produced all year. The one positive has been effort and defence yet there were moments in the first forty minutes where this could have been seriously questioned.
Thankfully there was much more spirit in the second-half yet the impotence of the Bulldogs’ attack was on display for all to see. The six tries to two victory was set up by a twenty-two point first half by the Titans and only a late try to Moses Mybe saw Canterbury hit the scoreboard at all.
Flimsy left edge defence was the most notable flaw, it was spotted by the Titans and utterly exposed, as John Olive and Marcelo Montoya appeared completely as sea and raid after raid was launched down their side.
Attacking wise, the blue and whites were lamentable, with last tackle running and kicking options lacking imagination and enthusiasm. Sadly, this was a feature of both halves and is still the Achilles heel that coach Dean Pay must address in preparing for next season. Only a run away and lucky try to John Olive saw the Bulldogs cross the line in the second-half and the Titans crossed twice to win comfortably.
Josh Jackson, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and David Klemmer tried to give departing full-back Moses Mbye the farewell he deserved yet for all their efforts, couldn’t do so.
We wish Mbye well at the Tigers and hope that the Club can now acquire another option in the halves to cope with the gaping attacking flaws. Next week sees a clash with Newcastle away from home and a bounce back is absolutely paramount.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 10 Gold Coast Titans 32
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