2024 NRL: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Season Preview

After a poor 2023, will Canterbury improve in 2024?

Season Preview

A lot has been made of the massive turnover at Canterbury. It’s clear to see that Cameron Ciraldo is creating a culture of hard work and mateship. In simpler terms, if you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen.

That rings true to many former players and on the other hand speaks volumes of the players who are now in the blue and white, willing to buy into what he is building.

It’s a narrative fans on the outside will laugh off, but the fact remains the Bulldogs have worked extremely hard over the last 12 to 18 months to instil a new breed at Belmore.

Whether or not they make the top eight remains to be seen. It’s likely not going to happen, with a forward pack lacking a leader and depth it will be a tough ask.

But that’s beside the point. The club is in a much stronger position now than they were this time last year. And while I expect a base improvement in results on the field, it will be another 12 to 24 months before we really see whether the grand plan that began in the 2023 pre-season has worked.

Best Signing

Embed from Getty Images

Stephen Crichton arrives as a multi-premiership winner, an experienced Origin stalwart, and the best centre in the competition, particularly defensively.

Not only does he provide game-breaking value on the field, he adds an amazing array of experience in winning culture off the field and at training.

From all reports, he has led the way in the pre-season, really uniting the player squad into a tight group of passionate Bulldogs.

Key Player

Embed from Getty Images

As captain and a player regarded Origin-class, Reed Mahoney was guilty of perhaps trying too hard in a struggling injury-ravaged team in 2023.

While defensively he was outstanding in his efforts and commitment, with a lack of any real go forward and an abysmal defensive record as a team, he struggled to perform as well as he’d like with ball in hand.
Given the influx of gains and losses, the arrival of key players like Stephen Crichton and Josh Curran, and a new halves combination – likely Burton and Sexton – it is time for Mahoney to recapture his form that helped lead the Parramatta Eels to a grand final.

Player to Watch

Sam Hughes – a massive forward – is at home at prop or back row and was one of the highest rated youngsters in junior rep football.

At 23 years of age with a handful of first grade games under his belt, Hughes has put an injury affected couple of seasons behind him and is, from the mind of Gus Gould, going to be the one to watch in 2024.
If he can take his opportunity with both hands it will greatly aid the Bulldogs forward pack, which is lacking depth and experience.

Number Crunching

Premiers: 8 (1938, 1942, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1995, 2004)
Minor Premierships: 7 (1938, 1942, 1947, 1984, 1993, 1994, 2012)
10 years win/loss record: 93 wins, 150 losses (38.3%)
5 years win/loss record: 30 wins, 86 losses (25.9%)
2023 win/loss record: 7 wins, 17 losses (29.2%)
NRL Finals Appearances since 2014: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)
NRL Finals win/loss record since 2014: 4 wins, 3 losses (57.1%)
Biggest win since 2014: 38, vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (42-4, 17/3/14, Accor Stadium); vs Wests Tigers (38-0, 5/9/21, Kayo Stadium); vs St George-Illawarra Dragons (38-0, 26/8/18, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium)
Biggest loss since 2014: 66, vs Newcastle Knights (0-66, 2/7/23, Accor Stadium); vs Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (0-66, 3/7/21, CommBank Stadium)

Other Articles

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »