Canterbury and their fans endured a lot of heartache and frustration last season on and off the field, and many experts have suggested it will continue on the field this coming season.
Whilst you may be thinking the same thing there are many reasons to suggest it could be a really good year for the Blue and Whites.
The departure of David Klemmer won’t be easy although it has been sweetened somewhat with the addition of Dylan Napa. He will bring a wealth of experience and confidence that will benefit the Bulldogs, as long as he stays disciplined and focused after what’s come out off the field, I can see this as a win for the Bulldogs.
Whilst the Morris twins have been great for the club and will be hard to replace, the timing couldn’t be better to blood some young guns. This will no doubt be a massive challenge for Dean Pay, although with Will Hopoate there to help nurture the up and coming backs this will help soften the blow and having players already capped with NRL experience this will hold the backs in good stead.
Corey Harawira-Naera’s arrival at Belmore will be a healthy addition to an already talented list of backrowers, Sauaso Sue, Christian Crighton, Nick Meaney and Jack Cogger also join the Canterbury squad list for 2019. This gives Dean Pay a good mix of youth and experience.
Much has been said about Kieran Foran and whether he can stay fit and recapture career-best form. I personally think he will, so far the news has been positive about his rehab and training, and with a list that includes young halves such as Lachlan Lewis, Jeremy Marshall-King, Jack Cogger and Fa’amanu Brown, Foran will have to fire if he wants to play footy in 2019.
Canterbury will have some much-needed impact off the bench this will no doubt trouble sides with forwards and back rowers that are capable of throwing the ball around combined with late footwork. This will expose tired and weak defences.
On paper the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have a side capable of making the finals, they tested top 8 sides late last year without key players, and in the modern era, an off season can change a lot. In 2013 the Roosters won the premiership after previously finishing 2012 in 13th position and last season Souths made the top 4 after finishing 2017 in 12th place.
Possible Round 1 Team
- Nick Meaney
- Christian Crighton
- Will Hopoate
- Kerrod Holland
- Reimis Smith
- Keiran Foran
- Lachlan Lewis
- Aiden Tolman
- Michael Lichaa
- Dylan Napa
- Josh Jackson
- Rhyse Martin
- Adam Elliott
- Jeremy Marshall-King
- Sauaso Sue
- Raymond Faitala-Mariner
- Corey Harawira-Naera
Expect Morgan Harper to replace Holland if he doesn’t perform, and much the same with Fa’amanu Brown and Lichaa. And Jack Cogger could also get a run around in place for Jeremy Marshall-King or to cover injuries.
I expect this Bulldogs side to play off the cuff style footy in 2019 and finish anywhere between 5th and 8th position and surprise a lot of pundits.