Phil Gould
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Former Penrith Panthers General Manager of Football Phil Gould in the mounting yard to watch his horse Jailbreak compete in race 1 during Sydney Racing at Rosehill Gardens on May 18, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

With their recent propensity for tabling rich deals to prospective recruits, Canterbury has, without doubt, made the biggest splash in the player market this off-season.

While names such as Braiden Burns, Brent Naden, Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Matt Dufty, Paul Vaughan and Tevita Pangai Jr are all set to call the Kennel home in 2022, the Bulldogs have also opened their wallet to lure another spate of stars that are set to start 12-months later.

Having recently agreed to terms on a rich deal to land premiership Panther Viliame Kikau, the Dogs have doubled down in the past week by landing Parramatta rake Reed Mahoney ahead of the 2023 season.

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Although head coach Trent Barrett will be forced to wait another season before both of these big names are at his disposal, the recruitments of Kikau and Mahoney on separate four-year contracts are set to cost the club in the vicinity of $1.4 million each season.

Given the current salary cap sits at $10 million per season, and is required to cover 30 players with none earning less than $120,000 per annum, these aforementioned deals for the duo of new Dogs are set to consume 14 per cent of the club's spending capacity.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 20: Viliame Kikau of the Panthers makes a break during the round two NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Penrith Panthers at Bankwest Stadium, on March 20, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

According to reports from The Daily TelegraphCanterbury has already committed to signing 23 out of a possible 30 players for the 2023 season and will only have $500,000 to spend on filling their remaining seven slots.

Still, with Bulldogs chairman John Khoury suggesting that these final roster spots are likely to be spent on local juniors, the move could negate the need to chop too much talent from their stocks at the cessation of next season.

“It is not all about just signing or selling players,” Khoury told The Daily Telegraph.

“It’s about balancing the squad. We brought in Gus Gould, whose runs are on the board with what he has done at other clubs, most recently the Panthers and the Warriors.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Commentator Phil Gould during the round 7 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels at McDonald Jones Stadium on April 28, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

"It’s also about developing players. In that spirit we brought back reserve grade a year early – that shows we are committed to being a development club again.

“The proof is in the pudding with some of these young guys who have come through our juniors and our pathways.”

However, the Belmore side's recent keenness on spending will mean that a collective of players currently on decent deals could be heading for the doors.

Names such as Nick Cotric, Corey Allan, Kyle Flanagan and Luke Thompson were raised by journalists Brent Read and Dave Riccio as realistic possibilities to face the chop.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27: Kyle Flanagan of the Bulldogs looks to pass during the round three NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium on March 27, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Each of these aforementioned names will face pressure to retain their first-grade spots next season given the haul of previously stated names that are set to pull on blue and white jerseys next season.

Despite their facelift, Barrett's Bulldogs are still seen by bookmakers as rank outsiders to turn their 2021 wooden spoon into a top-four finish in 2022.