Star playmaker Moses Mbye has refuted suggestions internal strife was to blame for Canterbury’s meek exit from the NRL premiership race.
The Bulldogs slipped out the finals back door on Sunday in their elimination-final defeat to Penrith – their fourth-successive loss.
And on-field frustration boiled over, not for the first time this year, when Mbye colourfully remonstrated with hooker Michael Lichaa as the Dogs desperately pressed for a late comeback.
It was the second time this year Lichaa had been involved in a heated on-field debate. Mbye’s halves partner Josh Reynolds also found himself in the headlines for the wrong reasons after wildly gesticulating at Lichaa earlier this year in a match against the Warriors.
But Moses is adamant everything is OK at Belmore.
“It’s all sweet,” he told AAP
“My spray at Lichaa was just a bit of frustration coming out. We were down , the window to win that game was getting smaller and smaller obviously and I wanted the pill and didn’t get it.
“It was just something in the heat of the moment.
“But me and Lichaa are best mates. We are fine now. It was just one of those things.”
Coach Des Hasler, who has been involved in the last 12 finals series, has copped plenty of heat for the Dogs’ late-season slide. But Mbye said the players were behind Hasler.
“If you are not winning games, people are going to say what you are doing is wrong,” Mbye said.
“We put all our trust in Des. His resume speaks for itself. He is a quality coach and the boys are really happy with him.
“But if he wants to tinker around in the off-season with how we play, that is what he will do.”
Mbye, who was selected midweek in Mal Meninga’s PM’s XIII, wasn’t worried by the avalanche of criticism that had come his way either.
“The criticism is always going to be there,” he said.
“I am in a position where you are responsible for a lot of the game and, when we are dropping games, I am going to get criticised. I expected that and it was something that didn’t really faze me.
“Overall, I thought my year was good – I really enjoyed my football. I learned a lot out of the year I didn’t know last year and I am really excited about moving forward into next season.”