Pay at a loss over lacklustre Bulldogs

Bulldogs coach Dean Pay was at a loss to explain his side's frail performance in the middle of the park, as they were crushed 40-6 by the New Zealand Warriors to start their year.

The Bulldogs at times had no answer for the hard-running Warriors, who clocked over 400 metres more than Canterbury and broke 38 tackles, en route to the seven tries-to-one victory in Auckland.

"Physically they were just too good for us. They brought the ball out of their own end [better], they played it faster than us," Pay said.

"It's an attitude thing… their tackle breaks [were] something like 40, it's just not good enough.

"We prepared really well. Our attitude towards how physical we need to be needs to be better.

"We turned up and at the end of the day they were more physical than us, they ran harder, they tackled harder.

"We are going to [have to] change it and change it really quick."

Several of the Warriors' four-pointers saw them break through weak first-up contact on the way to the line, while the Bulldogs were also guilty of falling for dummies in the lead-up to tries from Adam Keighran and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Off-season recruit Dylan Napa told NRL.com the below-par showing from Canterbury's pack came out of the blue, insisting there had been no lack of physicality in the work done over the off-season.

Bulldogs prop Dylan Napa.
Bulldogs prop Dylan Napa. ©Shane Wenzlick/NRL Photos

"It's not a reflection of how we trained in the pre-season, which is disappointing," Napa said.

"I thought both their front-rowers, Bunty [Afoa] and Agnatius [Paasi], and also Lachlan Burr, they really held that middle strong, ran in numbers, and supported each other. They did the complete opposite to what we did, which sucks."

Pay also expressed concern at his side's lack of polish at the end of attacking sets, with neither the experienced Kieran Foran or youngster Lachlan Lewis managing to cause the Warriors problems in the final third.

The Bulldogs completed at over 90 per cent in the first half and finished the match having made just five errors to the Warriors' nine, yet the visitors took 54 minutes to score a try in an otherwise dour attacking display.

"That's about all we can take out of it, we completed really high, but we didn't do anything with it because we didn't generate any ruck speed for ourselves," Pay said.

"We need to be better there [at the end of sets]. We gave away four seven-tackle sets as well, it just snowballed."