Bulldogs must measure up with big men

Canterbury coach Trent Barrett has told his side to handle the big men in defence better after losing the territorial battle in the 32-10 loss to Parramatta.

TRENT BARRETT
TRENT BARRETT Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Trent Barrett has implored Canterbury to better handle the big men in defence after they were clearly out-muscled in the loss to Parramatta.

The Bulldogs were belted in the territorial battle on Saturday night, forced to wait until the 54th minute to have a play-the-ball inside Parramatta's 20-metre zone.

Just 34 per cent of the ball was played in the Eels' half, as the Bulldogs fell behind 16-0 early and a brief second-half fightback ended in a 32-10 loss.

And while it's clear Barrett's men have taken steps forward from the side flogged for three straight weeks between rounds two and four, he admitted there was still a gulf in class between them and the best..

"That was pretty noticeable tonight. We've just got to keep working hard, that won't change," Barrett said.

"It was off the back of our defence. They rolled us down the field pretty easily.

"The difference in where we were bringing the ball off our line all half as to where we were turning the ball over for them was chalk and cheese.

"Ultimately, you get hurt on the back of that. But individuals didn't tackle well enough."

It's no secret Barrett still has his work cut out turning the Bulldogs around.

Saturday's loss marked the second straight year they have slumped to a 1-7 record, while they won just two of their opening eight games in 2018 and 2019.

While attack has been their biggest issue in recent years, they are still conceding more than 30 points per game this year to sit last on the ladder.

"Defence is an attitude," Barrett said.

"Physically you look at the two teams (Canterbury and Parramatta) next to each other, we're giving a fair bit away.

"They're a big side, they are in the top two or three teams in the comp for a reason.

"We didn't handle them."