The Canterbury Bulldogs have been one of the most active sides in the player transfer market in recent years, and may not be done yet.

2025 will present yet more opportunities for the rebuilding side to continue adding to their roster, and there is little doubt they have some key shortcomings to address within their Top 30.

Coach Cameron Ciraldo should be guaranteed to be there into 2025, which makes recruitment a little easier, although still tough to suggest it's an ideal location given their lack of success.

Still, they have signed enough talent for 2024 to start turning things around, and yet more in 2025 could be the catalyst for a full blown transition to the top.

In this series, Zero Tackle are running the rule over every club and who they should be targetting when a new crop of players become available to negotiate with on November 1 ahead of their contracts expiring at the end of 2024.

Current 2025 squad
Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Stephen Crichton, Josh Curran, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Kitione Kautoga, Viliame Kikau, Jacob Kiraz, Reed Mahoney, Isaac Matalavea-Booth, Karl Oloapu, Jacob Preston, Jaeman Salmon, Jordan Samrani, Ryan Sutton, Blake Taaffe, Blake Wilson, Bronson Xerri

Current 2025 best 17
1. Stephen Crichton
2. Josh Addo-Carr
3. Jacob Kiraz
4. Bronson Xerri
5. Blake Wilson
6. Karl Oloapu
7. Matt Burton
8. Isaac Matalavea-Booth
9. Reed Mahoney
10. Ryan Sutton
11. Viliame Kikau
12. Jacob Preston
13. Josh Curran
14. Jaeman Salmon
15. Raymond Faitala-Mariner
16. Kitione Katuoga
17. Blake Taaffe

Players off-contract at end of 2024
Reece Hoffman, Samuel Hughes, Max King, Liam Knight, Joseph O'Neill, Chris Patolo, Hayze Perham, Ethan Quai-Ward, Khaled Rajab, Toby Sexton, Jeral Skelton, Jackson Topine

EVERY PLAYER OFF-CONTRACT AT THE END OF 2024

Other clubs
» Brisbane Broncos
» Canberra Raiders

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1. Tom Dearden

All the reports out of Belmore are that the club want Karl Oloapu to become a long-term lock forward, rather than stick to his current spot in the halves.

That is going to be on pause for 2024 at least though, with Oloapu in for neck surgery and likely to miss the entire season.

The Bulldogs must, either way, plan for a future without Oloapu playing in the halves, and that means making a splash for a top player from November 1.

Matt Burton has proven himself as a six, a seven, and as a centre. That being said, the Bulldogs should have fishing lines in the water for players in both positions, for the set-up they have, they are unlikely to find a better player than Tom Dearden.

If playing next to Burton, he can help to control the kicking game, and if playing with a more solid traditional halfback, he can run till his heart is content.

North Queensland not securing Dearden prior to November 1 could be enormous, because we get the feeling a number of clubs might have a nibble.

NRL Rd 11 - Cowboys v Dragons

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1 COMMENT

  1. Some interesting players there. I wonder how many of them will come up for other clubs as well. (Tohu Harris is interesting – I’d assumed he was contracted to the Warriors for life, but as you say, if he wants to go round again and the Warriors are short of cap space…)

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