Bulldogs need to bite back
WEST End skipper Raymond Harrison says the Bulldogs need to get their mojo back.
That starts against Eastern Cobras at Redbank Plains tomorrow night.
The 1-4 Bulldogs have endured a torrid few weeks; a 54-18 defeat to Swifts last round followed a 60-18 loss to Goodna the previous weekend.
"It's about getting through games mentally,” Harrison said.
"The amount of points that have been put on us in the last couple of weeks, it's played a factor. We have to remember we can play good footy.
"We're capable of that, and I feel confident in the playing group. We just have to get back to doing the simple stuff, we've gone away from that at times.”
Coach Jae Woodward agreed with his captain's sentiments, and said it was a lack of "the simple stuff” which ultimately let the young Bulldogs down against Swifts.
"There was six points in it with 20 minutes to go, and then a try against the run of play broke the boys' backs and their heads dropped,” Woodward said.
"The big thing was our completions. When it got down to the nitty gritty, our handling errors cost us the game. When the game was on the line, we couldn't complete.
"I know the boys are good enough - they did it for 60 minutes - but when the stress comes on they have to find that confidence and belief.”
Woodward said such lapses were to be expected from a young team still learning to play with each other.
"It's hard when you're coming up against teams like Goodna, Norths, and Brothers who have a nucleus that have been together for years,” the coach said.
"We're a completely new side - there's next to no players from last year in our squad. But it's coming, we've got so much improvement left in us.
"We walked off the training paddock on Tuesday night, and I said, 'This isn't the training of a team that's won one from five'. The boys are bouncing out of their skins, they're enthusiastic. They just need to get that confidence back when they're out on the field.”
The Cobras, another young and talented side, provide a perfect opportunity for Woodward to test where his charges are at.
"(Cobras) have a young side that's played a lot of rep football, very similar to our guys,” he said.
"And John Leota is a very constructive coach.
"They'll have a set gameplan and stick to that. It's up to us to find holes and exploit their gameplan.”
The Bulldogs will welcome back rower Kelepi Faukafa back to the line-up.
Woodward said the former Gold Coast Titan would provide an immediate boost.
"We definitely missed his leadership on the field - he's a big talker,” he said.
"We've probably been a little quiet over the past two weeks. With him back and a bit more talk, the boys will be better for it.”
RLI Round 7: Tomorrow (6pm) - Eastern Cobras v West End Bulldogs at Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve.