The Bulldogs have a new coach and new found optimism heading into 2012 – can they bounce back from a below par 2011?
Des Hasler’s decision to ditch Premiership-winning Manly and head to Belmore was the biggest story of the off-season. Hasler has a winning pedigree and the Bulldogs will improve significantly under his leadership.
The Doggies disappointed last season but did show some good touches towards the end of the year under Jim Dymock. Expect Josh Morris to recapture his best form Trent Hodgkinson to shine as he links up with Hasler once again.
There have been a number of departures and James Graham is the only arrival of note but Canterbury still boasts an impressive squad.
New captain Michael Ennis has a win-at-all-costs attitude and, although the Bulldogs don’t look to have enough bite to trouble the main contenders, Canterbury will be far better under Hasler and should be back in the finals mix.
Players out: Jamal Idris, Aidan Sezer (Both Titans), Ben Roberts (Eels), Grant Millington (Castleford), Junior Tia-Kilifi, Chris Armit (Both Panthers), Andrew Ryan, Gary Warbuton, Brad Morrin and Michael Hodgson (All retired)
Coach: Des Hasler – Enjoyed huge success with Manly before opting to take on the challenge of attempting to transform Canterbury into a major force once again, Hasler has an impressive win ratio and the Bulldogs have plenty of cause to be optimistic.
Breakthrough year: Joel Romelo – Tough hooker who impressed in a handful of games last year, Romelo is hard hitter and could play a big role for the Bulldogs off the bench.
Young gun: Dale Finucane – Powerful forward who is ready to make the step up to first grade after starring in the junior ranks. The Bulldogs have high hopes for Finucane.