They were down five key players and were also coming off the dreaded five-day turnaround, but South Sydney coach Michael Maguire was in no mood to talk excuses.
The conditions were cool but the Rabbitohs wilted badly under the heat of a white-hot Canterbury pack in the annual Good Friday fixture, conceding six tries in a sorry opening half hour.
And despite being without first grade regulars John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Alex Johnston and Sam and Thomas Burgess, a curt Maguire refused to find reason to defend his men.
“I have a team in there that can perform better than what we did,” he said.
He instead accused them of failing to aim up.
“At the end of the day it’s a game where you’ve got to put your body in front and we didn’t do that in the first half,” he said.
“We’ve got to make sure we fix that because we move into the next game.
“That game is not acceptable from where we’re at so we have to have a good look at ourselves and make sure we get what we need out of that game.”
The Rabbitohs scored some respectability with two tries in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 12-10 and improving their completion rate from 60 per cent to 84.
But Maguire still didn’t want to discuss positives.
“I’m not in the mood to talk about halftime. At the end of the day we weren’t performing well enough in the first half. Our game’s about putting your body in front,” he said.
“We allowed them to roll down the park. They got control, built pressure and sure enough scored some pretty soft tries.”
Of the six teams to back up after just five days this season, only North Queensland have won.
But skipper Greg Inglis denied it was a factor in their slow start.
“At the end of the day it’s not an issue, we’ve got to turn up and be ready to play,” he said.
Both Burgess brothers and Johnston, are likely to return for next week’s clash against Manly.