The conspiracy theorists, many of whom may be just plain jealous of Canterbury’s resurgence under new coach Des Hasler, have been wondering aloud: How can the Bulldogs keep going after star players for next season and still stay under the salary cap?
Well, here is the answer: Almost half of the current first-grade squad are off contract at the end of this season, which means the club has some tough decisions to make when it comes to player retention over the next month.
Canterbury have signed NSW and Australian representative forward Tony Williams from the Manly Sea Ealges for next year, after missing out on his teammate, Kiwi international five-eighth Kieran Foran. They have also signed Kiwi internationals Krisnan Inu and Sam Perrett, both outside backs.
Inu cost the club only $50,000 for the bulk of this season when he recently switched clubs from the New Zealand Warriors, who were prepared to pay most of what he was owed under their contract with him for this year as part of the deal to remove him from their books for next year.
But Inu’s earnings will rise substantially at the Bulldogs in 2013.
Recently, there were 12 players among Canterbury’s squad of 25 who were not contracted beyond this season, but that has since been cut to 11 with the re-signing of star prop Sam Kasiano, who would have earned a substantial pay rise based on his tremendous form.
That leaves Dene Halatau, Steve Turner, Bryson Goodwin, David Stagg, Jonathan Wright, Kris Keating, Luke MacDougall, Martin Taupau, Joel Romelo, Mitch Brown and Jake Foster as the players whose futures are yet to be determined, although the word is Taupau is among those who will be re-signed.