Kieran Foran remains confident the Bulldogs' season is not lost as he targets a return to the form he displayed in the round three win over Wests Tigers while playing with a torn syndesmosis.
Foran returned three weeks earlier than expected from that injury in the 22-10 loss to the Newcastle Knights at Suncorp Stadium where he took the line on with his usual vigour.
"I’m working hard to try and get back to that form and add something to the team. It was nice to get back from injury as quickly as I did but a shame about the result," Foran told NRL.com.
Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Knights
"I am really enjoying my football again. It is a long time since I have been as focused on rugby league itself. I’ve got the itch back for it and I am loving going to training every day and being around the boys, and I think that is showing.
"We are not losing hope just yet about this season. We are working really hard to get the results we want but just struggling to come away with those two points."
Bulldogs coach Dean Pay said Foran and prop Dylan Napa, in his second game back from an ankle injury, were "only going to be better for the run".
"Hopefully Kieran gets back to what he was doing before he got hurt where we started to play some really good footy," Pay said.
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"He is a big part of our team as our number one ball-player and he is only going to get better.”
Foran was impressed with Maroons prop Napa’s powerful charges which netted him 185 metres.
"Naps led our forwards by example with his actions and the way he put on those inspirational hits when you need them," Foran said.
The Bulldogs fought back from 16-0 at half-time to get within six points before a late Kalyn Ponga try sealed the result.
"It is similar to last week. We fought really hard to get ourselves in the game but just couldn’t get it done," Pay said.
"We defended quite well for periods of the first half but there were a couple of tries, one off a deflection, again that stuff where we aren’t getting the bounce of the ball.
"We got across the line and Kieran got pulled up for a no-try and we scored on the back of that so we are making some progress with our attack. The effort is there with what we are doing."