BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: Tevita Pangai Junior of the Broncos looks on during the round nine NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on May 10, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have managed to complete one of the best recruitment sprees in modern memory by earlier announcing the signing of Tevita Pangai Junior.

The superstar Tongan and future Origin near-certainty adds the aggression, go forward and second phase ability the Bulldogs have sorely lacked for the past number of years.

His signing, as well as the likely signing of Paul Vaughan completes a recruitment drive that includes the world's best winger Josh Addo-Carr, superstar in waiting Matt Burton, lightning fast Matt Dufty and the supremely talented Brent Naden.

To the Bulldogs credit, they have completely turned their future around in the space of 18 or so months.

Add the almost certain signing of Paul Vaughan and the Dogs have arguably gone from wooden spoon favourites to potential top eight contenders.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 10: Paul Vaughan of the Dragons scores a try during the round 21 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Gold Coast Titans at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on August 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

This is a successful recruitment drive any way you look at it... But it's one fraught with risk.

Let's remove one player immediately from the conversation; Matt Burton.

His signing is arguably the prize of all prizes for 2022. He was being chased by multiple clubs and I guarantee if he was still off-contract now he would have five or six more teams added to that list.

He will prove to be a superstar and I can't see any world where he doesn't play Origin in the future at some stage. Brilliant business by the Bulldogs.

The other signings, however... Not so cut and dry.

Don't think for a second I am trying to say that I expect issues. I am a big believer in second chances unless it's really not warranted (we'll leave that argument for another time).

I'd also argue that given the fact the Bulldogs have been a non-event in any discussions other than the wooden spoon 'battle' that they had little to no choice but to take risks.

That said, in terms of risks, they've taken a series of potentially future-shaping risks here.

Tevita Pangai Jr, at his best and on his day, is undoubtedly one of the top forwards in the game. David Fifita, Viliame Kikau and Jason Taumalolo aside, you'll be hard pressed to find a member of the back row who can make an impact on the field quite like TPJ.

The same TPJ who is currently serving another suspension due to a crusher tackle.

The same Pangai Jr who last year was fined $30,000 and stood down for multiple bubble breaches.

The same superstar, wrecking ball forward the lowly and going nowhere fast Brisbane Broncos cast aside because he was just too much hard work.

There's a reason Penrith are only willing to bring TPJ on in a low-risk, short-term deal. There's a reason the Tigers and Dogs were the only teams chasing his services despite his match-winning qualities.

Watch the Bulldogs recruitment discussed on Rugby League Outlaws

There's a reason the Broncos, who are in the process of a complete rebuild on and off the park have chosen to allow a megastar of our game to walk away, prioritising a culture shift over offloads and metres.

Meanwhile, Brent Naden is only just returning to first grade after serving a long suspension following his awful decision making on Grand Final Day.

Matthew Dufty was told weeks ago by the Dragons that his future lay elsewhere despite him being the Dragons only attacking weapon. Not to mention being one of the most elusive speedsters in the game.

Dufty doesn't come with a wrap sheet however the Dragons are a side who are hardly flying right now and all but armchaired their popular, try-scoring whippet out the door.

Josh Addo-Carr is one of my favourite players in the competition. I would welcome him into my club tomorrow with a massive smile on my face.

Melbourne Storm Training Session
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Josh Addo-Carr looks to pass during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Sunshine Coast Stadium on September 29, 2020 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Except that he was already at my club and a reported lack of discipline lead to his being allowed to walk to the Tigers, where they again failed to fight for a supremely talented player.

Addo-Carr's career was on a road to fringe first grade at best until Craig Bellamy took over and turned him into the superstar we know today.

With all due respect to Trent Barrett, he is not Craig Bellamy.

Even under Bellamy, Addo-Carr pleaded guilty to using an unauthorised firearm after a camping trip to the mid-north coast he should never have been on.

Burton aside, every player the Bulldogs have entrusted their future to are superstars... But superstars with backgrounds.

Don't get me wrong, this is hardly a case of signing the worst blokes of all time. Not one of these players has anything in their history to suggest they shouldn't be able to stay on the straight and narrow.

Winning is difficult, building a successful long-term culture however is far more difficult.

It's up to Trent Barrett to build and protect that culture.

I'm very much in his corner however even the biggest of Bulldogs fans have to admit that this is strategy that brings its own risks.

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