Holdsworth admits criticism hurt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Holdsworth admits criticism hurt

By Ian McCullough 13/09/2009 12:19:31 PM Comments (0)

Under-fire Bulldogs halfback Daniel Holdsworth admitted he was affected by the criticism levelled at him in the lead-up to the 26-12 NRL finals win over Newcastle on Saturday.

Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore dropped Holdsworth to the bench for the clash with the Knights, but the 25-year-old said he was happy with his contribution after entering the fray midway through the first half.

"It was a bit hard reading about yourself in the papers getting bagged by former players," Holdsworth said.

"But the ones that matter most, the boys and the coach are behind me and that helped me along."

Holdsworth was originally named in the Bulldogs starting line-up on Tuesday, but Moore opted to take the West Australian out of the firing line after he struggled defensively in last week's defeat by the Wests Tigers.

"Kev come up to me midweek and said that I only made 32 tackles or something last week and that didn't really help my case," he said.

"I like playing 80 minutes but it did save me a bit of energy so it was good."

The win ensured the Bulldogs have a week off ahead of the preliminary finals where Brett Kimmorley is expected to return after fracturing his cheekbone against the Warriors in round 25.

Holdsworth said he hoped Kimmorley would be back and was under no illusions about keeping his place in the side.

"Noddy has played 20 games this season I have played half a dozen so it is alright, I am not getting too ahead of myself," he said.

"It would be unreal if I get a bench spot."

Holdsworth was also backed by prop Michael Hodgson who said the team had developed a siege mentality following the defeat to the Tigers.

"He has had a tough week, but DJ is a classy player," Hodgson told AAP.

"He has played numerous positions for us this season ... he has a lot of finesse with the ball and kicks well I was really happy for him.

"We don't listen to external noise it makes us even closer, I wasn't even aware that there was much talk about us this week, we are a tight bunch of blokes and we keep it in house."

The former Parramatta, Canberra and Gold Coast front-rower also said the victory was even sweeter as it was the first time he had been on the winning side in six finals appearances.

Hodgson also said the win puts the Bulldogs in the perfect position to make a push for the grand final and Kimmorley's return will be a huge boost.

"You have to win to get momentum and confidence and the week off will allow us to get over some bumps and bruises," he said.

"And it has been rumoured that Noddy will be back for our next game which is fantastic as he is a tenacious competitor and a big part of our team and we are building for something special."

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