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Canterbury duo Ofahiki Ogden and Jack Hetherington.

New coach Trent Barrett wants the Bulldogs to be in a less generous mood against his former club Penrith next week than they were against Newcastle on Friday night.

Canterbury scored twice in the first half of Barrett’s first game in charge but paid the price for some sloppy handling and defence.

They conceded fives tries in a 32-16 loss at McDonald Jones Stadium – their first against the Knights in Newcastle since 2013.

"We didn’t help ourselves with the errors that we made in yardage," Barrett said.

"We gave them a pretty easy night, really. They didn’t have to earn too much because we gave it to them, but that’s how I saw it."

Match Highlights: Knights v Bulldogs

Barrett was assistant coach to Ivan Cleary at Penrith last season, helping the Panthers to 17 straight wins and the minor premiership en route to a 26-20 loss to Melbourne in the grand final.

He will be in the opposing coach’s box at Bankwest Stadium next Saturday.

"Combinations are going to get better the more they play together, and there were a few blokes there probably a bit underdone, but they’ll be better for it next week, and we’re going to have to be [against Penrith]," Barrett said.

"They [Penrith] are a good side but it doesn’t matter who we play, you can’t do what we did tonight. It might sound really simple but it is – you can’t turn the ball over in yardage.

"Our defence will improve, and our energy levels will be better when you get 50-50 of the ball and hang on to it. It’s an easy fix but we’ve got to correct it pretty quickly."

Elliott steps through the Knights

Barrett was disappointed at the Bulldogs’ inability to defend their own mistakes and some poor defensive execution close to their line to concede several "real soft tries".

"We didn’t help ourselves, at all," he said.

"I thought we started OK, we looked OK with the ball, but we made too many yardage errors and didn’t defend them. I think we had 10 [errors], and didn’t defend them, and you just can’t do that."

Barrett also lamented a 5-0 penalty count against the Bulldogs and what he believed was an imbalance in the six-again tackle restart tally.

"I need to get a little bit of clarity on the 'six-to-gos' because we got pumped – so I’ll find out about that, and the penalties. I’ve got to be careful there, but I’ve got to ask the question because it put us under enormous pressure," he said.

"But that’s certainly no excuse for the poor yardage errors we made, and they weren’t forced errors either. They were ours, and we’ve got to own that."

Bulldogs winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
Bulldogs winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Of the five senior recruits who made their Canterbury debut – Kyle Flanagan (Roosters), Nick Cotric (Raiders), Corey Allan (Rabbitohs), Jack Hetherington (Panthers) and Corey Waddell (Sea Eagles) – Barrett believed Flanagan was a stand-out.

"I thought he was our best player," Barrett said of the former Sharks and Roosters playmaker who threw the final pass for Canterbury’s first two tries.

"He tackled well – he had one poor read there – but I thought his kicking was really good, he had a hand in a couple of tries, and if we can get an even share of the footy, we scored three tries tonight so there’s no reason we can’t score six."