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)

The Canterbury Bulldogs have undertaken an aggressive recruitment drive the likes of which it's hard to remember ever happening.

They've brought in big-name, powerful forwards, a superstar in the making in the halves, and some major weapons in the outside backs.

In 2021 the Dogs were difficult to watch. They scored only 340 points across the entire season. This was 88 points shy of the next leanest return.

In Josh Addo-Carr, the Dogs have recruited a proven try-scorer who can bust the line open from anywhere on the park.

Craig Bellamy was quick to replace him by adding young Xavier Coates in what looks a like-for-like swap.

This prompted me to ask; who will have the better season next year?

On the surface this looks as though it's the easiest in this series to declare. Josh Addo-Carr has played a big role in success both at club, state and international levels, has scored 100 tries at NRL level and is widely considered the fastest man in Rugby League.

Easy. Right?

I strongly disagree because of two factors. The first, and most important being the Craig Bellamy factor, and secondly I think it's fair to suggest that while the Storm are in "win now" mode, the Bulldogs are not.

Let us know below who you believe will have the better first season at their new club.

Watch as Rugby League Outlaws discussed EVERY team's best recruit

Josh Addo-Carr

What more can be said about Josh Addo-Carr that hasn't been said already?

He's been one of the top two or three wingers in the world for the past few seasons.

He's the first winger picked at Origin and international level. Some refer to him as "the fastest man alive".

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Josh Addo-Carr of the Storm celebrates winning the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park on September 21, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Fox is a massive signing for the Dogs. Not only is he is he a try-scorer, but he creates opportunities with his speed, footwork and agility. You blink and he's gone.

With the greatest of respects to the Dogs, they haven't had a winger in the same hemisphere of talent as Addo-Carr for many seasons.

He will slot straight in, as a senior player, and you have to imagine he'll be charged with kick returns wherever possible.

His speed and power ensure sets start on the front foot. He and Matt Dufty should wrack up plenty of kick return metres in 2022.

Most importantly though he is the polished finisher that the Dogs have lacked for many, many, many (deep breathe), many years.

It's hard to see anyone else pushing him for the honour of his club's top try-scorer in 2022.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the Fox fly down the wing in the blue and white.

Xavier Coates

Craig Bellamy always finds a way.

He's lost literally millions of dollars with of talent over the years due to salary cap issues, positional switches or those wanting to play closer to home.

Losing a player of Addo-Carr's pedigree would be a massive blow for most sides and most coaches, but not the Storm and Craig Bellamy.

Bellamy went out and handpicked his replacement. The six-foot four flyer who's potentially was being squandered in the Broncos set up; Xavier Coates.

Coates has all the raw talent to be a special player. I almost didn't want Coates to end up in Melbourne as he's just another outside back who will reach new heights under Bellamy.

NRL Rd 6 - Broncos v Panthers
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Xavier Coates of the Broncos breaks away from the defence during the round six NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium, on April 15, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Think Reimis Smith, Brenko Lee, Justin Olam. Two fringe reserve graders and a raw talent turned into stars.

Jahrome Hughes was a third-string fullback before Bellamy turned him into one of the game's elite halfbacks. Papenhuyzen was a reserve grader, Addo-Carr too.

You'd be far braver than I am to suggest Bellamy won't be able to take a super talent, with Origin experience, and ensure he fulfils his potential.

Coates won't look back upon his 2021 season fondly, although Payne Haas aside, there aren't too many Broncos who will.

He's fallen into the literal perfect position under the game's best and most consistent setup. Given his size, speed and ability to find the line, I am equal parts excited and scared to see what he produces.


I have no doubt in the world that Coates will have a monster 2022. He has literal unlimited potential.

That said, all the potential in the world isn't enough to look past Addo-Carr's achievements, experience and talents.

Coates may score more tries given the ridiculous talent in his supporting cast, but Addo-Carr is going to take on a leadership role and I see that taking him to another level.

His arrival in Belmore has Dogs fans excited, and for good reason. I expect to see his workload rise and his continuation as the game's elite winger.