Canterbury found themselves in an up and down season where they seemed their own worst enemies in crucial junctures that ultimately led to their downfall.
Player of the Year:
Inconsistency was, as said, one of the biggest problems for Canterbury. Looking good in some parts of the year, such as a pounding of the Broncos when Canterbury were at the height of their powers, was balanced by being held to nought by the Cowboys. Crunching Manly in the very first game was followed by winning ugly over Penrith and losing to a (admittedly over the cap) Parramatta, who went on to beat Canterbury again later in the year. Cronulla got them with two minutes left on the clock, a match that could have changed quite a lot if it went the other way. Another highlight was the win over Melbourne south of the border – becoming somewhat of a regular fixture for Des Hasler’s men.
Mbye Half the problem
One thing that would prove to be a recurring problem for Canterbury was Moses Mbye not getting enough of the ball: the fans are split between two schools of thought, some believing that it is a part of the game plan, others believing that Mbye is not an assertive enough halfback and needs to demand the ball more. Either way, it has to be fixed up for 2017.
Exciting Kasiano must have more time
Shining through in a clunky Bulldogs attack was Sam Kasiano, the behemoth who can have five men on him and still find a way to offload the ball. The issue is that while other clubs’ attacking spark would play the full eighty minutes, Kasiano is only on the field for thirty five. This means that the Bulldogs strike forward is warming the bench more than he is changing the game, and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Recruitment lacking in Belmore
The issue for some Bulldogs pessimists is that there are no “rockstar” signings for the next season, many having the impression nothing’s going to change next year. The side is not as star studded as some of the other rosters, but if there’s one thing about the Bulldogs it’s that they can take a roster with okay backs and a strong forward pack all the way to the big one; just take a look at 2012 and 2014.
Josh Cleeland (Cronulla Sharks, 2018), Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Mid Season: New Zealand Warriors, 2019), Asipeli Fine (Mid Season: Wests Tigers, 2018), Richard Kennar (Melbourne Storm, 2018), Brenko Lee (Canberra Raiders, 2018), Lachlan Lewis (Mid Season: Canberra Raiders, 2018), Lamar Liolevave (Mid Season: Wests Tigers, 2017), Rhyse Martin (2018), Zac Woolford (Canberra Raiders, 2018)
Tim Browne (Penrith Panthers), Dane Chisholm (Bradford Bulls), Shaun Lane (Manly Sea Eagles), Lyndon McGrady (released), Pat O’Hanlon (retired), Sam Perrett (retired), Curtis Rona (rugby union)