Pay sees light at the end of Dogs tunnel

Under-pressure Canterbury coach Dean Pay insists there is light at the end of their NRL tunnel that is darkening by the week.

The Bulldogs on Sunday slumped to a sixth defeat in their opening seven games, this time being walloped 34-6 by the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium.

“First 20 minutes was, we competed really hard and got through our sets. We done some good things there, but after that, it wasn’t good,” Pay said post-game.

“It wasn’t good at all.”

The loss was soured by a suspected ankle injury to fullback Will Hopoate, who has arguably been their best player in a sorry campaign thus far.

The last-placed Bulldogs are the only team to have won just one game so far.

Asked how long Hopoate could be out for, Pay said: “I’m not sure about Will, I haven’t spoken to our medical guys.”

The uninspired performance also came just days after the off-contract Pay survived a board meeting where his future was believed to be discussed.

With money in the salary cap to spend, the onus will be on the club to make a decision on a head coach before players make the call to move to Belmore.

One player who has already signed on is highly-regarded front-rower Luke Thompson, who will meet his teammates for the first time on Monday.

The English international finished his two-week isolation in Melbourne on Sunday and could make his NRL debut as soon as this week’s clash with South Sydney.

His arrival, as well as the club’s war chest, were the only positives Pay could point to following their latest effort against the Tigers.

“Our cap’s back in order. We’ve got Luke Thompson turning up here this week. He’s a real quality player,” Pay said.

The club is believed to be in negotiations with Canberra duo John Bateman and Nick Cotric, the latter of whom is off-contract.

Bateman has been given permission to talk with other clubs despite being signed at the Raiders until the end of next season.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel. We need to get into the market. We need to buy 3-4 quality players and improve what we’re doing,” Pay said.

“Hopefully they’ll make a difference to what our team is. I’m sure they will. And keep bringing these young blokes along, keep playing them.

“Although it wasn’t where we needed to be tonight, these young guys, it’s another learning curve for them.”





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