The pressure continues to mount on Souths coach John Lang after Â the Bunnies lost for a second successive week, after they kicked a field goal with 10 minutes remaining, only to lose the game in the end.
It is these games that they know they could have won, that makes it hard that much harder to cope with the loss, and as a result, the levels of frustration build.
”We’ve again had a lead late in the game and blown it, and then let another try in for a bonus,” Lang said.
”We’ve got to improve, that’s the bottom line.”
Souths were still in front when fullback Rhys Wesser was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul in the 71st minute, after he made a try-saving tackle, though it back-fired, after he held down Bulldogs winger Steve Turner for too long.
When questioned about the incident, Lang replied, “Probably, yeah. Professional foul, that’s a classic penalty. They made a break, and Rhys held him too long, so, fair call.”
Lang also acknowledged that it just was not Wesser’s day against the Bulldogs.
For Wesser, he too knows that it was not the best day for him, and he knows that he did indeed hold down Turner for too long after the incident.
”I was devastated when I was sin-binned,” Wesser said.
”My team needed me out there at that time. We had a couple of tackles to defend. I knew it was a risk. It was too slow for the ref’s liking, and I didn’t get away with it. We had our backs against the wall, and ran out of a bit of energy on our line, trying to defend with 12 men. In the end, my being penalised might have caused the try.”
For Lang, he sees the main reason for Souths two losses to start the year, as simply being, their star players are not stepping up to the plate, and leading from the front.
”We had a number of players who didn’t play well this week, and a number who didn’t play well last week, but they weren’t the same ones,” he said.
”Players have to be consistent week in, week out, and that’s our trouble. Three or four players put in a bad performance, and then they come good next week but you have another three or four put in a bad performance. So we’re not getting in front.”
Despite their victory however, Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore sees plenty of room for improvement, and he refuses to get carried away despite the win.
”I wasn’t overly impressed with how we played today,” Moore said.
”But the effort was there and we tried hard to the end, and I think today’s victory was more about spirit than quality football. I think we can get a lot better. What was pleasing is that when we got down to that last seven minutes of the game we knuckled down and did what we had to do to get the win.
”We had no control early on. It was like we got into a bit of a game of touch footy with them, and that’s not how we play our best footy. But in the last 10 minutes of each half we finally took control of the game, and I think we put on something like 20 points in those two periods.”
BULLDOGS 28 (B Goodwin J Idris K Keating T Lafai A Ryan tries B Goodwin 4 goals) btÂ SOUTH SYDNEY 19 (N Merritt 2 R Wesser tries C Sandow 3 goals C Sandow field goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Brett Suttor.
Dally M Points
3 Kris Keating
2 Tim Lafai
1 Nathan Merritt