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Hasler ready to look for answers

Des Hasler will begin his review of Canterbury's disappointing NRL season immediately, after his side were bundled out of the finals by Newcastle on Sunday.
Hasler ready to look for answers
by AAP

By Ian McCullough

SYDNEY, Sept 15 AAP - Des Hasler will begin his review of Canterbury's disappointing NRL season immediately, after his side were bundled out of the finals by Newcastle on Sunday.

The Bulldogs slumped to a 22-6 defeat to the Knights at ANZ Stadium in a performance that mirrored a campaign which failed to hit the heights of 2012 where they won the minor premiership and reached the grand final.

Hasler's side lost four of their first five games at the start of the year and lost superstar fullback Ben Barba for large chunks of the season due to off-field issues and injury problems.

Barba's Bulldogs career ended in disappointing fashion when he was stretchered off with a recurrence of his ankle injury and his departure 10 minutes into the second half effectively ended his side's hopes of winning the game.

Hasler refused to use the disruption during the year as an excuse for the side's performance on Sunday, and cut a disconsolate figure after the game.

"That could be any one of the games we've tossed up in the last 10 weeks. It was really disappointing with the ball," he said.

"We had only 23 sets; it's just not good enough at this level and you just don't give yourself a chance."

Hasler said he was at a loss to explain why his side had underperformed but warned his players he will find solutions before next season.

"It's pretty difficult to put a finger on it," he said.

"I think we've been pretty inconsistent and we've got the off-season to review it.

"And we'll certainly be doing that. We'll go right back over it and look at the reasons why. It's something we'll definitely get to."

Canterbury were on top for the opening 20 minutes of the game but had only a Sam Perrett try to show for their efforts and let the Knights back in the game through Darius Boyd and Akuila Uate tries before halftime.

The hosts also failed to add to their score when Chris Houston was sin-binned in the second period and skipper Michael Ennis said it was a very poor way to end a campaign that promised so much.

"I thought we were really in control and building pressure but it didn't happen for us," Ennis said.

"It wasn't anyone individually. I am shattered to be honest."

Knights coach Wayne Bennett hailed his side's defensive display and said his more nimble-footed forwards took advantage of the bigger Bulldogs pack.

"They were great all day today," he said.

"Across the park we could have had another four or five tries there if we had a bit more discipline with the football.

"But all day our intensity and effort and all those things you're looking for were there. And they were there for 80 minutes."

"We took a lot of confidence out of that, knew we could hold them defensively and we did."




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