Poor starts has Bulldogs chasing their tails

JAMES MACSMITH
Last updated 01:11 13/04/2013

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The cavalry might be coming for Canterbury but, when it does, their NRL season could be all but over.

At the quarter-way mark of this year's regular season, last year's grand finalists have enjoyed only one win, over Parramatta, and endured five losses after their round-six 38-0 hammering at the hands of Sydney Roosters on Friday night.

The result will leave Canterbury 10 points behind the premiership frontrunners after Saturday's top-of-the-table clash between Melbourne and South Sydney.

Des Hasler's side look nothing like the team that set the NRL alight in 2012 and are sweating on a number of star players who they have sorely missed at the front end of the season.

But given their poor start, even when the likes of Sam Kasiano and James Graham return, the Dogs could be left chasing their tails for the rest of the season.

Graham and Krisnan Inu are due back from suspension in round 10, while the return of Kasiano (leg) remains up in the air.

Ben Barba's unsettled start to the season also hasn't helped the superstar fullback or his team.

In last year's decider, Melbourne's rushing defence on the edges exposed the shortcomings of the Bulldogs' chain passing among their forwards, which had previously proved so successful, and other sides have followed suit this year.

But the likes of Aidan Tolman and Martin Taupau lack the silky ball skills of Kasiano and, until the giant prop returns, if it isn't too late to save their season, Canterbury look set to continue to struggle.

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- AAP

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