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'We were our own worst enemy': Hasler

Words: Martin Gabor, National Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

Bulldogs dejec 17081021NH

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler described his side's performance as "flat" after they went down 28-14 to the Rabbitohs on Thursday night with the loss further soured by a potentially season-ending calf injury to Wests Tigers-bound Josh Reynolds.

‌Canterbury had no issue matching South Sydney in yardage, but as we've seen all season, a lack of polish in good ball area proved their undoing as they slumped to a fourth loss on the trot. 

Hasler will go down as one of the greatest coaches of the modern era, but even he is running out of ideas with the veteran mentor on track for his worst season since he took the helm at Manly back in 2004. 

After a dour start to the game, the Bulldogs looked to have worked their way back into the contest when Chase Stanley scored in the opening set of the second half, but just when things looked to be going their way, Raymond Faitala-Mariner came up with an error in the next set that resulted in back-to-back tries for the Bunnies.  

"I thought we were our own worst enemies," Hasler said after the game.  

"It was always going to be a tough game given the situation and I've got to say we looked a bit flat. 

"[There were] scenarios where we refused to buy into just managing a game possession-wise. We came up with undisciplined passages in our play and we came up with basic errors in our game; it's a bit flawed with that at the moment. There are huge momentum swings that are just hard to handle. 

"I thought we started the second half well - I think we scored from our first set after half-time to make it 14-8 - so you think momentum is going our way and then we drop it from the kick-off and then it goes from 14-8 and next minute it's 26-14 and you don't see the ball for another eight or nine sets. That standard of football is unacceptable."

Make sure you're at ANZ Stadium 20 August for all the fun!

Bulldogs skipper James Graham cut a forlorn figure in the post-match media conference, with the workhorse prop unable to put his finger on what had gone wrong at the club in 2017.

With finals out of the equation, it would be easy for the players to roll over and accept their fate, but according to the Englishman, that's not in their DNA.

"The reality of the situation has set in and it's there for all to see. If I knew the answer [on how to turn things around] I'd tell the boys, but I can't figure it out at the minute," Graham said. 

"I think you'd be a fool to think that your whole career is going to be full of good times. Tough times are going to test you and you can see what you're about. I'm determined and I know there are a lot of people in that dressing room just down the road that are determined to turn things around. We need to fix it. 

"We want to try to rectify it. Sometimes it feels like the confidence is down a little bit, but in the week at training it's actually been really good in terms of our standard and the mood. We just can't seem to put it together for 80 minutes. Throughout this year, we've seen what we're capable of doing but we just don't do it for long enough. It's been our biggest problem. 

"If I knew [how to fix it] I'd implement the plan."

This article first appeared on NRL.com