True Blue Paul Langmack said the workload being placed on Canterbury-Bankstown five-eighth Matt Burton by his teammates was detrimental to the Bulldogs getting results in matches.
The club recruited strongly in the off season with Burton, Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Dufty, Paul Vaughan and Brent Naden all heading to Belmore, but they only have one win to show for it in 2022.
That result came in a hard-fought 6-4 win over North Queensland in Round One and while they were competitive in their next two games against Brisbane and Manly-Warringah, they were no match for the Melbourne Storm last round after losing 44-0.
Things won’t get any easier over the next fortnight with the club facing the Grand Finalists from last year in successive weeks – premiers Penrith and South Sydney.
“At Canterbury poor old Matt Burton, it’s a bit like playing Under 6s, saying ‘Good luck, show us what you can do’,” Langmack told ‘Behind Blue Eyes’.
Langmack, won three premierships with the Bulldogs in 1984-85 and 1988, said Burton was being asked to take on attacking and positional kicking duties single-handedly at the Bulldogs and the addition of halfback Kyle Flanagan this week might ease some pressure.
“Hopefully Flanagan can help him in that regard buy giving him good ball, instead of him trying to run the whole show,” Langmack said.
“It’s an opportunity for Kyle Flanagan to excel.”
Flanagan makes his NRL debut for 2022 at No.7 in the Bulldogs side against Burton’s old club – the Panthers – on Sunday at CommBank Stadium.
He has been on fire in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup with a try, six try-assists, five line-break assists and 19 goals. The Bulldogs are undefeated after four rounds.
Flanagan, 23, scored 198 points for the Sydney Roosters in 2020 but then signed with the Bulldogs for 2021. He ended up playing just 13 games.
He played in the Bulldogs NRL trial games but is yet to play first grade.
Langmack said Flanagan deserved his chance.
“Look he did it at the Roosters at the highest level and in high-intensity games,” Langmack said.
“I remember him kicking a goal from the sideline showing to me he can handle pressure.
“He’s just down on his confidence – I think it’s a great move.”