Following the dire results of Des Hasler’s now notorious back ended deals, the Bulldogs are currently undertaking one of the most substantial rebuilds in the history of the NRL under rookie head coach Dean Pay, and boy could they use the help of some of the names on this list.
Having struggled to forge an identity and playing extremely dire football in the last few months of Hasler’s reign, the Bulldogs have predominantly gone away from the previous policy of attracting big name high earners to the club.
With second-year coach Dean Pay wanting to bring back the old ‘Dogs of War’ moniker, through recruiting a slew of young cut-price talent such as Nick Meaney, Sauaso Sue, Jack Cogger, Corey Harawira Naera and Christian Crichton and simultaneously letting go a host of proven first graders. Here is the top 10 players the Bulldogs have let go, not re-signed or released in the past decade.
10. Dale Finucane
After signing for the Bulldogs in 2009 and moving to Sydney from his native Bega, Dale Finucane became a constant figure in the Canterbury-Bankstown pack, appearing 66 times for the Bulldogs including the 2012 and 2014 Grand Finals.
Finucane became a fan favourite amongst Bulldogs fans thanks to his high work rate and hard-working demeanour, but sadly for Doggies fans, he was not held in the same esteem by the Bulldogs’ hierarchy.
Halfway through the 2015 pre-season, Finucane was released from the remainder of his contract and signed a three-year deal with the Melbourne Storm. Finucane has since cemented himself as a favourite of Craig Bellamy, featuring in three Grand Finals and claiming a solitary premiership.
At 27, Finucane is beginning to enter his prime years as a middle forward and has been thrust into Origin contention for the 2019 series thanks to his consistent workmanlike performances over the opening nine rounds. Displayed through his consistent statistical output, including an impressive 125 running metres per game, 32 tackles at an efficiency of 94% and an offload a game.
With plenty of first grade still in front of him, the Bulldogs could have used Finucane to great effect. If they retained him, thanks to his no-frills style of play he could have been cost-effective option to help solve the Bulldogs well-publicised salary cap issues.