SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: David Klemmer of the Bulldogs watches on during the warm-up before the round 14 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on June 12, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

2017 was definitely a year to forget for the boys from Belmore.

Lacking bite in attack as one of the lowest scoring teams in the competition, the Bulldogs didn’t give their fans too many reasons to be excited last season. Des Hasler seemed to lose his aura and his relationship with the Canterbury Board was highly talked about.

Having lost fan favourites Josh Reynolds and James Graham to rival clubs in 2018, how will the Bulldogs fair under new coach Dean Pay?

Dean brings back the culture to Belmore. Having played in the Bulldogs Golden Era, he knows better than most what it means to be a Bulldog. He is just what the Bulldogs need at the moment with the club’s forward pack struggling to assert its authority over the opposition. Handed the task of recreating ‘The Dogs Of War’ and rejuvenating Canterbury’s woeful attack, Dean has emphasised how he plans to implement an aggressive style of play allowing the club’s stars to entertain and put some points on the board.

New recruits Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran have a huge role to play in this new look Bulldogs side. Fresh from a world cup victory with the Kangaroos, Woods is ready for a big year and keen to buy into Dean Pay’s plans. It is well known the Bulldogs look to play an aggressive brand of football. The leadership of Woods, Aiden Tolman Josh Jackson and David Klemmer will determine how successful the Bulldogs are.

The most important piece of the puzzle is prized recruit, Kieran Foran. Unsuccessful in securing his signature on numerous occasions the Bulldogs finally have their man. Plagued by injuries and off-field issues in recent times, Foran needs to be fighting fit to guide the club out of their try scoring rut. Having skipped the world cup to focus on season 2018, Canterbury fans are praying the Foran of old returns making him one of the best buys of the season. An unknown and untested halves partnership looms for Canterbury in 2018, with Dean Pay yet to decide who partners Foran this season.

Bulldogs fans are hoping for an improved side to grace their television screens this coming season. With one of the lowest crowd attendances, the Bulldogs will be looking to turn things around and bring the Belmore faithful back to cheer on their team. Time will tell whether the Bulldogs will bite in 2018.

Predicted Round 1 Line-Up

  1. Moses Mbye
  2. Brett Morris
  3. Josh Morris
  4. Will Hopoate
  5. Marcelo Montoya
  6. Josh Cleeland
  7. Kieran Foran
  8. Aiden Tolman
  9. Michael Lichaa
  10. Aaron Woods
  11. Josh Jackson
  12. Rhyse Martin
  13. David Klemmer
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  14. Adam Elliott
  15. Danny Fualalo
  16. Raymond Faitala-Mariner
  17. Francis Tualau
 

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