NRL Rd 8 - Eels v Cowboys
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Reed Mahoney of the Eels passes during the round eight NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys at Bankwest Stadium on July 03, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

New Bulldogs recruit Reed Mahoney is ready to hit the ground running after the grand final disappointment of 2022, insisting that he's ready to face the lofty expectations building up around the club head-on.

As he prepares for his first pre-season training session with the club next week, Mahoney is well aware of the significance of his arrival.

“I want to be the best, that's who I am,” Mahoney told the Daily Telegraph.

“I'm going there to win.

“I'm not going there for any other reason. I see it as a big challenge in this chapter of my career.

“I've closed the book on one chapter and opened another. All my experience at Parramatta, I'm taking with me.”

Mahoney's arrival, along with that of back-row powerhouse Viliame Kikau and highly-respected coach Cameron Ciraldo, is boosting expectations ahead of the new season. While he's trying to maintain a level-headed approach for the year ahead, the dummy-half believes Bulldogs fans deserve to be excited after a challenging period.

“I knew when I signed the contract 12 months ago, where it would lead me,” he said.

“What I've been doing at Parramatta is what I'll need to do at Canterbury. That's why I'm in this situation, I'm not going there to try and be someone I'm not.

“I don't need to change any of that. The only thing I can change is getting better as a player and helping my teammates do better.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: Reed Mahoney and Mitchell Moses of the Eels look on during the 2022 NRL Grand Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium on October 02, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

As a member of a spine including Mitchell Moses, Dylan Brown and Clint Gutherson, Mahoney knows how to strike up a cohesive and dangerous attacking spine. Though he's yet to meet his future teammates as some return from a post-World Cup break, he'll be maintaining the same mindset he always has.

“When (Matt Burton) gets back from his time off, we'll all sit down and talk about what we want to do,” Mahoney said.

“The spine is the rock for the other players in the team to perform, so we all need to be on the same page.

“It won't be trying to outdo each other. It's that we're trying to work together.”

Though the club is facing a sudden on-field leadership void following the retirement of club icon Josh Jackson, Mahoney is also ready to step into a leadership role, should he be called upon by new coach Ciraldo.

“I've played 100 games and I feel the experience from that helps you in how to deal with people and how to get the best out of the players around you,” Mahoney said.

“For me it's turning up to training and building respect through my actions. That's what I live for, it's who I am.

“That's how I got to where I am today, through how hard I've worked and how determined I am.”