TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Bulldogs coach Dean Pay looks on at the post match media conference at the end of during the round six NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canterbury Bulldogs at 1300SMILES Stadium on April 14, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Canterbury coach Dean Pay insists there is light at the end of the tunnel despite the horror start the Bulldogs have endured in 2020.

The Dogs were again smashed on the weekend and questions have begun to surface about where to next for the club.

Canterbury is believed to be in negotiations with Canberra duo John Bateman and Nick Cotric, the latter of whom is off-contract.

Bateman has been given permission to talk with other clubs despite being signed at the Raiders until the end of next season.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel. We need to get into the market. We need to buy 3-4 quality players and improve what we’re doing,” Pay told reporters.

“Hopefully they’ll make a difference to what our team is. I’m sure they will. And keep bringing these young blokes along, keep playing them.

“Although it wasn’t where we needed to be tonight, these young guys, it’s another learning curve for them.”

The disappointed performance came just days after the off-contract Pay survived a board meeting where his future was believed to be discussed.

With a treasure chest of money to spend, the onus will be on the club to make a decision on a head coach before players make the call to move to Belmore.

Highly-regarded front-rower Luke Thompson has already signed on and will meet his teammates for the first time on Monday.

The Englishman finished his two-weeks of quarantine in Melbourne on Sunday and could make his NRL debut as soon as this weekend against South Sydney.

The arrival of Thompson, and the club’s war chest were the only positives Pay could find after their loss against the Tigers.

“Our cap’s back in order. We’ve got Luke Thompson turning up here this week. He’s a real quality player,” Pay said.