Canterbury's finals hopes are buried but Bulldogs playmaker Jeremy Marshall-King is relishing his first full NRL season.
The mid-year loss of fan favourite Moses Mbye to the Wests Tigers, Aaron Woods shifting to Cronulla last month and Kieran Foran sidelined with a season-ending injury has compounded a 4-12 record.
Bulldogs coach Dean Pay has blooded five players to offset the loss of three seasoned campaigners and Marshall-King and Lachlan Lewis have shown promise in the halves over the past fortnight.
Marshall-King told NRL.com the threat of the club's first wooden spoon in a decade had not been spoken about as he was personally enjoying the season.
"We're not travelling well but for some of the inexperienced players it has been an awesome ride," Marshall-King said.
"No doubt it has been a tough year overall but for guys like myself, Lachie and Rhyse Martin we've been able to make our way into the side and hopefully stay.
"Everyone at the club has been welcoming and we haven't dropped our heads. The senior players have rallied around us and are pushing us to keep playing for our family, friends and the fans."
The Bulldogs will welcome Newcastle recruit Jack Cogger next season, while his Knights teammate Nick Meaney has joined the club and will make his NRL debut against Parramatta on Friday night.
Despite settling in at halfback for the time being, Marshall-King insists he is not threatened by the addition of Cogger, with his versatility value set to be his biggest strength.
The 22-year-old has floated between five-eighth, halfback and hooker in 2018 after coming off the bench in his opening two games at the club.
"I'm not too worried about Jack coming next year, he's a good player and will bring a lot to the team," Marshall-King said.
Pay: We've still got some recuiting to do
"I've learnt a lot about my role this year. I've been able to play in every game and can fill in to play a few positions. That can only help me for next season."
Canterbury inexcusably let a 14-point lead slip in six minutes against Canberra at Belmore last Saturday – a steep learning curve for the players on how to close out the game.
"Deano wasn't too happy about it," Marshall-King said of the 32-28 loss.
"We just fell asleep and couldn't hold them out. It was one we had won until the last seconds. We'll take a lot of confidence into this week but have also rued what could've been.
"We want to show some pride in the jersey for the rest of the season and give the side something to build on heading into next year."
Bulldogs prop David Klemmer will be given until Friday to prove his fitness following Origin III.
Klemmer was cited for a grade one dangerous contact charge on Queensland's Ben Hunt but can escape with a fine.
Marshall-King loving life with Lewis