Dogs aim to prove NRL critics wrong in NZ

Canterbury players have discussed their underdog status in 2019 and want to prove their NRL detractors wrong against the Warriors on Saturday, according to five-eighth Lachlan Lewis.

The Bulldogs, who travelled to Auckland on Thursday ahead of their season-opener, are tipped by many to be closer to fighting to avoid the wooden spoon than pushing for finals football.

"We've sensed the feeling of not being backed and being underdogs. I'm sure there will be a bit of a pep talk saying let's prove people wrong," Lewis said.

"We don't need that much motivation to go out there and win, but it's been said a few times that no one is backing us and people are writing us off.

"Let's prove a few people wrong and turn some heads."

The Bulldogs won four of their last six at the end of last season, and have added Dylan Napa to a side that has lost several stars including David Klemmer plus Josh and Brett Morris.

Lewis was one of their brightest lights at the end of last season, finding his feet in first grade to keep the No.6 jersey ahead of new recruit Jack Cogger.

He'll come up against former under-20s teammate Adam Keighran in the halves battle on Saturday, with the former Bulldog making his NRL debut at the Warriors.

But Lewis was keen to remind fans he is only slightly more experienced than his rival despite the recent hype.

"I don't think I had a solid season last year. I played nine games and there has been a lot of hype over those nine performances I had," the 22-year-old said.

"I just want to go out there put some good performances together and keep competing and earning my spot in the side."