The Warriors are preaching patience in attack as they try to get their NRL season back on track.
The Auckland-based club head into an “away” match against Canterbury on Saturday night in Wellington after their two-win mini-revival was halted by a disappointing 34-18 home loss last weekend to Manly.
Lock Simon Mannering agrees they were guilty of overplaying as they tried to peg back the Sea Eagles.
“We want to play football, but some of the stuff we were doing was pretty forced,” he said.
“Offloads are our strength, but not when we’re trying to push it out before we’ve even thought about running through the line.”
The defeat left the Warriors in 13th spot and was followed by a major selection change with Jeff Robson dropped and Tuimoala Lolohea moving from wing to his preferred position in the halves to partner Shaun Johnson.
The Warriors also welcome back Bodene Thompson from injury to restore the first-choice back row of Mannering, Thompson and skipper Ryan Hoffman.
Canterbury coach Des Hasler has retained the side who fought out a 18-12 win on Monday night in Melbourne to climb to fifth on the ladder.
There are five New Zealand-born players in the Bulldogs’ squad in Sam Perrett, Curtis Rona, Greg Eastwood, Sam Kasiano and Perrett’s younger brother Lloyd, who has been been added to a five-man bench.
Lock Eastwood and prop Kasiano are part of a tough-looking pack that Mannering has plenty of respect for, not just because of their size, but also their skill.
“They’re not one-dimensional, just using their size and trying to break you down,” he said.
“They pass the footy and test you on the edges.”
Mannering is looking forward to being back in Wellington, where he spent time during his junior playing days.
But he can’t explain the Warriors’ poor record in the capital, with eight appearances there producing just the one win in 2014 over the Wests Tigers.
“It’s a cool place to play and we would rather play there than over in Sydney against the Bulldogs,” he said.
“But I can’t explain it. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen this weekend.”
STATS THAT MATTER:
* The Bulldogs have won their past five matches against the Warriors for a 19-12 head-to-head advantage, with two draws
* They are unbeaten against the Warriors in Wellington, with four wins and a 24-24 draw in the first meeting in 2001
* Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is the NRL’s most-prolific metre-eater, running an average of 197 metres a game