NRL 1 year ago

NRL: Wounded dogs ready for Warriors?

  • NRL: Wounded dogs ready for Warriors?

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Although the Bulldogs demonstrated enough creativity and aggression to keep pace with the Sydney Roosters last week, Kerrod Holland's absence proved costly in the end as their opponents held on for the win.

After crossing over for the game's opening try, Holland was soon taken to the locker room for what was later revealed to be an AC joint injury.

Holland's forced substitution left the visitors without their preferred goal-kicker for most of the contest and represented the catalyst to their downfall.

The Bulldogs' backline took another heavy blow midway through the second half after a head clash between Zane Tetevano and fullback Will Hopoate left the latter worse for wear.

The club have since announced that both Holland and Hopoate will be sidelined for at least four to six weeks - two absences that will leave a glaring gape in the side's on-field production.

Speaking after the match, coach Des Hasler acknowledged Holland's impact, but wasted little time in reiterating his overall frustration:

"It is a shame because he (Holland) probably would have kicked a couple of those goals," Hasler said.

"You can write a long 'oh me and my story' about it...we lost this, we lost that, we lost goal kickers, we lost fullbacks, but at the end of the day: we didn't get the points.

"It's early in the season, but you would like to have at least two of those four points.

"Whether we're a long way off or whether we're close, the fact is that we need to manage parts of the game better."

As a result of these injuries, Hasler will need to manage his starting line-up ahead of this Friday's match against the New Zealand Warriors.

With Brett Morris likely to fill in for Hopoate at fullback, the door remains wide open for two new faces out on the wing.

After opening the new season with a thrilling win over the Newcastle Knights, the Warriors currently sit 11th on the league ladder following their loss to the Melbourne Storm last weekend.

Stephen Kearney will be without Kieran Foran once again as the star signing continues to recover from a recurring shoulder injury, and will need to make more changes should Manu Vatuvei and captain Roger Tuivasa-Scheck fail to make their respective recoveries.

This Friday's match in Dunedin will hold significant ramifications for both sides as they look to keep up with the rest of the competition. As a result, losing will not be an option.

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