A disastrous 2021 saw the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs collect the wooden spoon. But the recruitment of Phil Gould and several astute players will ensure the Bulldogs look to the future rather than the failures of recent seasons.
BULLDOGS TEAM PREVIEW
2022 BULLDOGS SQUAD
Josh Addo-Carr, Paul Alamoti, Corey Allan, Jake Averillo, Bailey Biondi-Odo, Braidon Burns, Matt Burton, Joshua Cook, Matt Doorey, Matt Dufty, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Kyle Flanagan, Jack Hetherington, Reece Hoffman, Josh Jackson, Tuipolotu Katoa, Max King, Jeremy Marshall-King, Brent Naden, Jayden Okunbor, Tevita Pangai jnr, Chris Patolo, Aaron Schoupp, Ava Seumanufagai, Joe Stimson, Luke Thompson, Jackson Topine, Paul Vaughan, Corey Waddell, Brandon Wakeham.
KEY SIGNINGEmbed from Getty Images
There are many to choose from, however Matt Burton arrives as the club’s biggest signing in years. A player with enormous potential and talent, Burton took out the Dally M centre of the year in 2021 as he collected a premiership ring alongside his former Panthers teammates.
However, his best position is five-eighth. A tall, skilful, and powerful runner, Burton will be given the number six jersey which he could own for many years to come. At least that’s what the Bulldogs are hoping. The height in which he reaches is truly unknown, but there are enough signs to say he could be a future Blues and Australian five-eighth.
KEY PLAYEREmbed from Getty Images
As above, Burton will be key to any success the Bulldogs have. But so too will be his halves partner. I believe that will be Jake Averillo, who has come on in leaps and bounds since moving permanently to half back. He is another young gun with enormous potential and if he can help take some pressure of Burton by adding a slick short kicking game and some direction in the attacking third, he will be a huge part of lifting the Bulldogs off the bottom of the ladder.
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Aaron Schoupp burst onto the scene in 2021 out of nowhere. A solid option in the lower grades, Schoupp took his opportunity in the top grade and looked like a veteran. He doesn’t shy away from the hard work; he has speed and strength to go with his silky skills. He could be in for a breakout year at left centre with Josh Addo-Carr outside him.
Cowboys (A), Broncos (H), Sea Eagles (A), Storm (A), Panthers (H), Rabbitohs (A), Broncos (A), Roosters (H), Raiders (A), Knights (Magic Round), Tigers (A), Dragons (H), Panthers (A), Eels (H), Tigers (H), Sharks (H), Rabbitohs (H), Titans (H), Knights (A), Cowboys (H), Warriors (A), Eels (A), Sharks (A), Sea Eagles (H)
There’s a lot to like about the new-look Bulldogs, but there are a lot of questions over the half back and hooking positions. The forward pack is very strong with the additions of Vaughan and Pangai-Junior, not to mention the return of Faitala-Mariner after a whole season off with foot injuries. Their outside backs are full of attacking potency but defence will be key, especially the effectiveness off the ball from Dufty at fullback.
It will be a big year of improvement in 2022 but I can’t see it quite being the dream run back into finals contention that Bulldogs fans are crying out for. That will have to wait another year.
BEST SEVENTEEN-MAN SQUAD
- Matt Dufty
- Braidon Burns
- Brent Naden
- Aaron Schoupp
- Josh Addo-Carr
- Matt Burton
- Jake Averillo
- Paul Vaughan
- Jeremy Marshall-King
- Luke Thompson
- Raymond Faitala-Mariner
- Tevita Pangai-Junior
- Josh Jackson
- Ava Seumanufagai
- Jack Hetherington
- Chris Patolo
- Corey Waddell
- Brandon Wakeham