Canterbury's roster rebuild over the past few seasons is evident following the club's announcement of a six-man leadership group for the 2023 season.
Josh Jackson captained the Bulldogs for five years, every season from the start of 2018 through to his immediate retirement at the end of 2022, leaving a massive void to fill within the squad.
New coach Cameron Ciraldo must've been tossing and turning over the decision, instead nominating six players, which includes a club captain as well as two game day captains as well.
Raymond Faitala-Mariner has been unveiled as the club captain, Matt Burton and recruit Reed Mahoney the game day captains, while Max King, Josh Addo-Carr and Viliame Kikau are also in the group.
Faitala-Mariner is the only member of the group to have featured for the club prior to the 2022 NRL season.
Mahoney, who played junior football for the Belmore-based club, was shocked when hearing he'd be one of two players to lead the side out each week.
“I've never really been involved in a leadership group before. Cam touched on it when I came that he wanted me to come and give my presence when I turn up, and I took that on board," Mahoney told the club's media following the announcement.
"It took me a while to sort of feel comfortable in that, but I just based everything around my actions and training hard.
“That's what's got me to where I am today – working hard."
Matt Burton, who earned his maiden New South Wales and Kangaroo jersey in his first season at Canterbury, wasn't expecting this honour just yet.
“I never thought I would have got the opportunity to Captain the side and it's obviously a really big honour.
“I am really looking forward to it and it's great that I'll have Reed there beside me. It's new to both of us so it's going to be a big challenge, but we're both really looking forward to leading the side.”
This season will be Faitala-Mariner's eighth wearing the blue and white, and the hulking back-rower is confident he can step up in Jackson's absence.
“When Jacko retired and obviously being one of the older ones at the Club, I felt like a few boys needed to step up – there are big shoes to fill for Josh Jackson - so I thought I will be one of those boys to step up.
“I knew we had a young crew coming through and because I really love the Club and what they've done for me, I thought the best way to give back is to be a leader in my own way and be true to myself.”
Canterbury will play the first match of the pre-season challenge against Canberra, handing the leadership group their first opportunity to lead the squad around the park.