The 2016 season was a roller-coaster ride for the Bulldogs and their fans.
A season of Inconsistency for coach Des Hasler, which saw his team finish 7th on the ladder and were knocked out in Week 1 of the finals.
Des Hasler was lucky to survive as head coach at the end of the season, as the board were in two minds of whether or not to retain him or release him from the final year of his contract.
The 2017 season is definitely a make or break season – A top 4 finish and at the very least a Prelimanry match is a must for the Bulldogs in 2017. Anything less, will most definitely send Des Hasler packing.
One thing Bulldogs fans can ensure is that with Des Hasler at the helm a another finals berth seems almost inevitable, the question is can the club take the next step.
- Tom Carr (St George Illawarra Dragons -2018),
- Josh Cleeland (Cronulla Sharks – 2018),
- Richard Kennar (Melbourne Storm – 2018),
- Brenko Lee (Canberra Raiders – 2018),
- Rhyse Martin (2018),
- Francis Tualau (Melbourne Storm – 2019),
- Zac Woolford (Canberra Raiders, 2018)
- Tim Browne (Penrith Panthers),
- Dane Chisholm (Bradford Bulls),
- Graham Clark (released),
- Shaun Lane (Manly Sea Eagles),
- Lamar Liolevave (released),
- Makahesi Makatoa (Canberra Raiders),
- Lyndon McGrady (released),
- Jarrod McInally (QLD Cup),
- Pat O’Hanlon (retired),
- Lloyd Perrett (Manly Sea Eagles),
- Sam Perrett (retired),
- Curtis Rona (rugby union),
- Tony Williams (Cronulla Sharks)
- Greg Eastwood (2018),
- Josh Jackson (2020),
- David Klemmer (2020),
- Moses Mbye (2020)
Des Halser will rely heavily on his massive forward pack once again in 2017 and so he should when the likes of James Graham, David Klemmer, Sam Kasino, Josh Jackson, Greg Eastwood and Aiden Tolman are at his disposal.
That group of names should strike the fear into any opposition that faces them and once again will pave the way for Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds to cause damage through the middle.
The Bulldogs were up and down all season, almost so coach Des Halser wanted to pull out his beautiful hair.
The First 9 rounds the Bulldogs would win a game them lose a game and found themselves 6th on the ladder.
The Dogs re-grouped in the middle part of the season to win 6 games out of 8 during the State of Origin period. A impressive feat when, David Klemmer, Josh Jackson and Josh Morris missed games due to Origin duties.
The remaining 8 games on the run home and the Bulldogs have set themselves up for a top 4 finish, but their inconsistency found it’s way back into the team, with the Doggies only winning 3 out of remaining 8 games and leaving them sitting 7th on the laddler.
The question is can Des Hasler fix their inconsistency issue over the summer or will it linger into the 2017 season?
This signing just could be one of the best signings of the off-season. The Bulldogs managed to secure 20-year old Brenko Lee from the Raiders signing a 2-year deal with Canterbury.
Unable to cement a spot in the nation capital with the likes of Jarrod Croker, Jordan Rapana, Joey Leilua and his cousin Edrick holding down the spots in Ricky Stewart’s side, Lee will be a very hand addition for Des Hasler.
Lee made just 12 appearances for the Raiders over his 3-years (2014–16) at the club, but ability to finish is what should excite the Bulldogs faithful, as in those 12 NRL games Lee managed to score 11 tries and at 192 cm and 103kg, he will be hard to stop on that edge.
Reynolds now 27 and with 129 NRL games of experience under his belt, needs to step up and lead this Bulldogs attack in 2017, if the Bulldogs have any chance of playing in the grand final.
A favourite amongst all Members and fans, Reynolds is capale of turning a game on it’s head. With the help on his forward pack wearing down opponents Reynolds needs to seize on the opportunities created by the hard work of his forward.
Bulldogs entire success hang on Reynolds and his partner in crime Moses Mbye and how well they spread the ball around in 2017.
How good can this kid be?
At just 23-years of age Klemmer has quickly racked up 70 games for the Bulldogs since his debut against the Cowboys in Rd 1 of the 2013 season.
Klemmer has also made 8 appearances for Australia and 6 for New South Wales in State of Origin. He has quickly become the enforcer in Laurie Daly’s NSW side and a massive fan favourite.
We expect Klemmer only to get bigger and better in 2017 and is our player to watch from the Bulldogs.
Young Zac Woolford is a player to keep your eye out for in 2017.
The Bulldogs signed Woolford on a 2-year deal from the Canberra Raiders, with the belief he could be the Bulldogs future and long-term No.9.
Woolford would replace current hooker Michael Lichaa, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the 2017 season and is expected not to be renewed.
Woolford had an outstanding season with Raiders Holden Cup side in 2016 and was nominated for the Dally M Holden Cup Player of the year.
Woolford finished the 2016 season with 144 points, four tries, 64 conversions, 69% with the boot and 18 line break assists.
Well Done Des Hasler, a very good buy!
STARTING 17 for 2017
Interchange: 14. David Klemmer, 15. Sam Kasiano, 16. Adam Elliot, 17. Danny Fualolo
2017 CRYSTAL BALL PREDICTION
Having one of the most intimidating forward packs in the NRL, second only to the Canberra Raiders, the Bulldogs should be capable of securing a spot in the top 8 in 2016.
Aided by what many say is the easiest draw in 2017 (Thanks Todd), playing just nine of their 24 games against 2016 finalist and only leaving Sydney on 6 occasions.
At their best the Bulldogs are unbeatable, but it is their Inconsistency that holds them back from being a top 4 contender.
Our Ladder Prediction: 7th