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Bulldogs Promise To Improve
The Bulldogs have vowed to make a better fist of their second National Rugby League (NRL) finals' appearance after spectacularly falling apart before the New Zealand Warriors.
The Bulldogs secured a lifeline when the Roosters ended a run of upsets with a 36-8 victory over Newcastle, eliminating the Knights hours after the Warriors pummelled the then competition favourites 48-22.
Melbourne are next up for the Bulldogs in Sunday's second semifinal after minor premiers Penrith eliminated eighth-ranked Brisbane 28-18 at Penrith Stadium yesterday.
The New Zealand Warriors will meet Canberra at Aussie Stadium on Saturday night in the first semifinal while the Panthers and Roosters have a spell until the preliminary finals on September 27-28.
Coach Steve Folkes said the team had no choice but to be positive after the Warriors' debacle.
"You can go out the back and slit your wrists I guess, but it doesn't get you through next week," he said to the League Correspondent.
"We've got to be positive, we've got to be upbeat, we've got to get our heads up and get over it. It was one of those things, they played really well, we played really poorly."
Added captain Steve Price: "It wasn't from the Warriors putting pressure on, it was just simple mistakes.
"It's been a couple of years since we played in the semifinals and I suppose we've woke up and realised that's what happens when you play the good teams in semifinals footy.
"You've got to hang on to the ball and you've got to complete your sets and you've got to try and put pressure on the opposition.
"They played a perfect game plan, hung on to the ball, put pressure on us and you just keep on defending the line against sides that are in the top eight and expect to win games like that."
The Bulldogs made 294 tackles to the Warriors 196, missing 39 compared to the Warriors 27.
There were also unforced errors aplenty with prop Mark O'Meley a chief offender.
"I thought we were going to roll them at 16-all, but we didn't complete a set and suddenly it went downhill for us from there," he said.
"I think we tried a bit too hard at times and that brought us undone. But we'll have a good look at ourselves in the mirror and we'll come back."
Anasta said he was sure the Bulldogs could bounce back in a week and quickly re-establish themselves as a force in the play-offs.
"We work on things at training and get our confidence back there. We know we're good enough, but we've just dropped off a bit in the last few weeks."