We’re counting down every club’s best 17 in the NRL era.
Up next is the Bulldogs, here is their best line-up over that period:
- Luke Patten- 2001-10, 225 games, 82 tries
The ‘General’ was an outstanding servant for the Dogs for the first decade of the millennium. Can be considered unlucky to not achieve NSW representation however he does have a premiership to his name.
- Hazem El Masri 1998-2009, 273 games, 139 tries
El Magic wasn’t blessed with big size but what he lacked in height he made up for in heart. Became the greatest point-scorer of all time in his final season and held it for 10 years before Cameron Smith overtook him. Hazem scored the winning try in their 2004 GF win over the Roosters.
- Josh Morris 2009-18, 217 games, 103 tries
Morris left his brother Brett at the Dragons to join forces with the Dogs in 2009 and established a successful 10-year relationship which turned Morris into one of the best centres of his generation. The determined Kiama product became a true rep player at the Bulldogs and played in two grand final defeats.
- Willie Tonga 2004-08, 81 games, 37 tries
Tonga had only played eight NRL games before moving from the Eels to the Bulldogs in 2004 but he instantly became a hit, scoring 18 tries in 27 games as they won the comp in his first season at the club. His breakout season earnt him Queensland and Australia call-ups.
- Matt Utai 2002-09, 127 games, 71 tries
The second half of one of the smallest wing partnerships of all time, Utai was the ultimate pocket rocket. Burst onto the scene in 2002 and it took him just 67 matches to notch up his 50th try, which arrived in the shape of his second try in the 2004 Grand Final.
- Braith Anasta 2000-05, 111 games, 50 tries
It’s easy to forget Anasta played a starring role for half a decade with the Dogs as he went on to spend a long stint with the Roosters. Braith achieved the NRL rookie of the year award in 2001 after an exceptional breakout season, and his partnership with Brent Sherwin brought success in 2004.
- Brent Sherwin 1999-2007, 191 games, 31 tries
An unheralded yet crafty little halfback, Sherwin was Canterbury’s long-time No.7 for the best part of a decade, and although like Luke Patten he failed to receive major representative honours, his contributions to the Bulldogs were incredibly valuable.
- James Graham 2012-17, 135 games 9 tries
The big Pom came from the UK in 2012 after the Bulldogs had missed out on finals for consecutive seasons for the first time since 1990. The inspirational Graham added the passion, hunger and desire up the middle that they had been missing and his first three seasons there coincided with two Grand Final appearances.
- Corey Hughes 1998-08, 213 games, 28 tries
The last of the Hughes generation, Corey’s success was no less than what his father Garry achieved. Garry won the competition in 1980 and Corey did the same 24 years later. Corey played in the 1998 defeat at halfback but won at hooker in 04, often alternating with fellow rake Adam Perry.
- Steve Price 1998-04, 164 games, 16 tries
Steve Price debuted for the Dogs in ’94 and won his first premiership in 1995. Price came short in the first year of the NRL era in a heavy defeat to Brisbane and the proud club legend was unlucky to miss out in 2004 to injury before his switch to the Warriors. A true Bulldogs great who always wore his heart on his sleeve.
- Josh Jackson 2012- current, 177 games, 22 tries
Jackson has kept his place for eight straight years in the Bulldogs side and his influence still hasn’t wavered as he quickly became a senior player within the squad. He was quickly recognised for his no-nonsense attitude by becoming a rep player for Country, NSW and Australia.
- Andrew Ryan 2003-11, 218 games, 52 tries
‘Bobcat’ made his name at the Eels but it was at the Dogs where he transitioned into a starting player and eventual captain of the club. He played a crucial role in the 2004 grand final win, making a last ditch tackle on Chris Walker to prevent a try before later making a heroic legs tackle on Michael Crocker which ultimately secured the premiership in the dying seconds.
- Sonny Bill Williams 2004-08, 73 games, 31 tries
SBW broke into the NRL as the next big thing with the Bulldogs, making his mark in the opening round of 2004. He played a major role in the side as they went onto record an eighth premiership in 2004. The Dogs struggled when he was out with injury in 2005 and his influence was officially lost to the club when he walked out during 2008’s disappointing campaign.
- Michael Ennis 2009-14, 136 games, 17 tries
A player that was often despised by opposition players was much loved by his teammates especially in his six years with the Dogs. Ennis became one of the premier hookers of the game in 2009 when he joined the Bulldogs and his stature at the club quickly grew as he became captain in 2012 following Andrew Ryan’s retirement.
- Willie Mason 2000-07, 148 games, 36 tries
Mason burst onto the scene in 2000 as a fresh 20-year old with a big afro and quickly became a fan favourite. His enthusiasm was always on show and he was always a larger than life character of the game that the Bulldogs missed when he departed for the Roosters. The rep forward was capable of playing prop or second row.
- Mark O’Meley 2002-07, 110 games, 16 tries
The ‘ogre’ was an intimidating and fearsome wrecking ball of a front-rower. O’Meley was extremely damaging in the early stages of matches and loved a fast-paced hit-up or the occasional confrontation with his opposite number.
- Ben Barba 2008-13, 97 games, 72 tries
Barba made his debut in 2008 but he was in and out of the starting line-up where he didn’t make a mark until 2011 when he became their fullback after Luke Patten’s departure. Was a very prolific tryscorer and won the Dally M medal in 2012 following an incredible individual season which led the Bulldogs to the minor premiership and to a Grand Final appearance.