Old, new, mutual, blue, and white.
In 2023, the Bulldogs enter rugby league on a well-worn footing that represents the simultaneous hope of continuity and a new start, eager to be part of the finals festivities after six years from the outside looking in.
After a grand final appearance in 2014 and two more trips to the Games in 2015-16, the Archbishop finished no better than 11th in the following six campaigns, including suffering the ignominy of the wooden spoon in 2021 at Trento in Barrett’s first year. steering wheel
The three wins were all the Bulldogs have to show for a disastrous season that ended with a 32-16 loss to the Knights three weeks ago, where they scored a point, from the Panthers (0-28), the Broncos (0-24) and the Rabbitohs (0-38). .
Two years later, the Bulldogs head into 2023 with a roster barely recognizable from the dark days of 2021, and a new coach in former Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo.
Three new leaders are part of a six-man leadership group, eight recruits including two who made the top four last year, and one clear focus – to return the club to its glory days.
Remarkably, data provided by David Middleton at League Services indicates that of the 35 players who donned the Bulldogs jersey in the NRL in 2021, only 10 remain among the top 30 for 2023.
Only four players who took the field in the first round two years ago are set to feature in the 2023 season opener against Manly, with fly-half Kyle Flanagan looking like the only man to have played in the same line-up position in that loss. horsemen
The man who was Flanagan’s half-time partner in 2021, Jake Averillo is expected to line up in full this season, while Corey Waddell and Raymond Faitala-Mariner are likely to be rewarded for their work in the next few seasons with spots in the Ciraldo 17.
Faitala-Mariner has been gifted with a new role as a coach for the past seven seasons, with Matt Burton and Reed Mahoney as the new leaders on the field.
After playing 21 games in a half in 2021, Averillo found his way to center and then last season to accommodate the arrival of the Panthers’ premiership winner Burton, who came up with 14 tries and 18 forced drops in a stellar season at No. 6 Caesarea
Other members of Barrett’s backline, No.1 Corey Allan to the Welsh with 20 games to play across two seasons, Nick Meaney moved to Melbourne last year, veteran Will Hopoate joined St Helena, Nick Cotric returned to Canberra and Dallin Watene. -Zelezniak is now a Warrior.
In their place, tight end Josh Addo-Carr looks set for a huge year after bagging 16 starts in 23 games in 2022 and setting the World Cup alight for the Kangaroos, while big youngsters Jacob Kiraz and Paul Alamoti are expected.
Kiraz grabbed six tries in 15 games in his debut season in 2022 before representing Lebanon at the World Cup, while the 19-year-old Alamo center was scouted on his way through the minor ranks.
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With Flanagan looking more confident with every game he plays, Burton terrorizing opponents with his spiral bombs and ‘Foxx’ scoring for fun, the Bulldogs look to improve dramatically on last year’s 16 points per game, the third worst attack in the NRL.
It’s in the future, though, where the most dramatic things happened, with the arrival of William Kikau, Reed Mahoney and Ryan Sutton sending expectations sky high at Belmore.
The day after, the winner of Kikau’s double award is almost impossible, and he should relish the opportunity to join his former Panther teammate Burton on the left side, which also features Addo-Carr.
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Mahoney is a tool kit and also a handy kicker and his service from midfield is first rate while Sutton gets through the power of work in attack and defence.
England’s Lucas Thompson will be cut short after an interrupted 2022 season that saw him play just 13 games due to concussion and travel home to the UK with a sick mother.
Former Storm man Max Rex enjoyed a breakout season in 2022, averaging 102 meters and 31 tackles per game, while Tevita Pangai jnr will be a force threat in the middle for Ciraldo.
Out of the bad guys who went to McDonald Jones Stadium on March 12, 2021, Jack Hetherington (Knights), Ofahiki Ogden (Eels), Adam Elliott (Raiders), Dylan Napa (Catalans), Renouf Atoni (Wakefield), Sione Katoa (was released. ) and the famous Governor Josh Jackson, who called time on his 241-game career, at the end of the year 2022 .
Among the crowd of new faces are utility Fa’amanu Brown, who started his track career at Wests Tigers last year after a horror run with injury and struggling Andrew Davey from the Sea Eagles, while favorite son Josh Reynolds is back. in the fold later this week promoted to the Top 30 club.
A member of the club’s 2014 grand final side that came down to South Sydney, 33-year-old Reynolds returns to Belmore after spells at Wests Tigers and Hull FC and would love nothing more than to play in the reborn blue and white. .