Pay hopeful of turning Bulldogs' fortunes

Matt Encarnacion
Canterbury coach Dean Pay remains confident his team can turn around their record in close games

Canterbury coach Dean Pay remains confident his team can turn around their record in close games despite falling to another demoralising NRL defeat in their loss to St George Illawarra.

The Bulldogs bounced back from a horrid start against the Dragons to take the lead early in the second half only to concede two penalties and lose by two points.

It means six of their past seven losses have been by eight points or less.

"It's been a number of games this year. We've been very close but we just haven't got the result," coach Dean Pay said after Monday's match.

The Bulldogs have endured a horrid season on and off the field, with the club recently revealing the salary cap pressure that is likely to result in star fullback Moses Mbye exiting the club by June 30.

With just three wins on the board - equal with last-placed Parramatta, who have a bye in hand - they are also set to miss the finals for the second season in a row.

It means Pay is a genuine chance of finishing with the wooden spoon in his first season as coach but the club legend is banking on the team improving its ability to deliver in the clutch.

"We've been beaten by six or less five or six times," he said.

"You jag those and you're a long way up the ladder but at the moment the reality is we're not. We've just got to keep working hard on our performances each week and getting them better.

"That way we can hopefully get what we're looking for."

Pay said his team's opening start against the Dragons was their worst of the season, though they then came back to outscore the Dragons by eight over the final 62 minutes.

He declined to pin the 18-16 loss on the late penalty against Aaron Woods.

"You take away the first 20 and you'd say we nearly come up with a win. That's encouraging for us because we're getting better," Pay said.

"Hopefully we can put 70 minutes together next week and 80 minutes after that. We just wanted to make sure that we're getting that progression, that performance up each and every week."