Stephen Crichton was not signed by the Canterbury Bulldogs to play at centre.

He might be one of the NRL's most talented centres, proving it time and time again during his stint at the Penrith Panthers, but that's not why Cameron Ciraldo and the Bulldogs signed him.

It's not why they named him as club captain in his first year at Belmore either. In fact, when Canterbury put out their surprise statement naming Crichton as skipper for the new campaign, it was revealed his likely spot at fullback was a big part of the reason why the call was made.

And yet, four weeks into the new season, Crichton hasn't had a look in away from the three-quarters in a side who have won a single game against the horrific Gold Coast Titans, and lost the rest against the Parramatta Eels, Cronulla Sharks and now the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Good Friday.

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While there is little doubt the Bulldogs were better on Good Friday in that loss to the Rabbitohs, particularly defensively where only small sections of the game cost them, their attack is still struggling to find another gear.

Yes, they put 32 points on the Titans in Round 3, but outside of that, Canterbury have only managed to score 30 points across their other three games.

Four weeks is a more than fair sample size when it comes to team selections and attempting to ascertain what is, and more importantly, isn't working.

The Bulldogs are far from the biggest basket case in the competition right now given the state of the Titans, but that doesn't mean there aren't things they should be looking at changing.

And the most glaring of those is putting Stephen Crichton at fullback.

In four games, Crichton has scored just a single try, assisted only one more and touched the ball a grand total of 68 times at just 17 per game.

Only seven tackle breaks, two offloads and a single game over 150 running metres continue to highlight exactly how uninvolved Crichton is as the club's supposed best attacking weapon sitting at centre.

It's not to say Crichton is a gurantee of working at fullback, but the Bulldogs made a number of big recruitment calls over the off-season, and to this stage, it's arguable to say they aren't working.

One and three is a record which would have most teams staring down the barrel of missing the finals, and while Canterbury were never expected to make them this season externally, internally, it was a different story.

Ciraldo is into his second season as head coach, and director of football Phil Gould has just about completely ripped up the squad and reset it since he first arrived.

That means it's time for results, and if the Bulldogs can't get them, then radical and immediate changes are needed.

Blake Taaffe has been far from poor or the worst Bulldog on the field over the opening rounds, but that shouldn't really come into it. If the Bulldogs have spent so much of their salary cap on Crichton with the idea of him playing fullback because he is one of the NRL's best attacking weapons, then that is exactly where he should be playing moving forward as you build your team around him, even if it doesn't bring with it an immediate change of luck and fortunes.

Whether there is a role for Taaffe if he isn't at fullback is disputable, but again, it simply doesn't matter. Canterbury must build their side around their most dangerous playing lining up in the key position at the back.

Taaffe likely couldn't play in the centres, but there is the potential of a halves spot being up for grabs. Drew Hutchison is the other change Canterbury likely need to consider given his lack of impact and effectiveness over the opening round.

Statistically, he looks as if his output has been solid enough, but the points on the scoreboard is where a halfback must be judged.

Whether Taaffe is a contender for the number seven jersey remains to be seen, with Toby Sexton the likely front-runner if Ciraldo does make the call to chop and change in the halves.

That said, Ciraldo will likely be hesitant to make two changes to his spine in the same week, particularly given he will also need to replace Josh Addo-Carr (concussion) and Jacob Preston (fractured jaw) heading into their Round 5 clash with the Sydney Roosters at home on Friday evening.

But if it doesn't happen this week, it can't be all that far away unless the Bulldogs suddenly make big changes to the way they are attacking, with tangible results popping up on the scoreboard.

The dispute over the one and seven should be easy enough to make a call on eventually, but not as easy as replacing Crichton, with Bronson Xerri more than ready for a call up into Canterbury's centres. He impressed during the pre-season challenge and was one of the more unlucky players around the competition to not feature over the opening rounds.

It's now time for his power, size and strength to come into the side, allowing Crichton's switch to one, with the team being built around that.

Canterbury need to pull the band-aid off in a hurry, because 2024 is starting to look an awful lot like 2023, and other recent seasons full of struggles and poor results.