NRL 3 months ago

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 2017 Season Review

  • Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 2017 Season Review

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 23: Josh Morris of the Bulldogs looks dejected after defeat during the round eight NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on April 23, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 2017 Season Review

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 23: The Bulldogs look dejected during the round eight NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on April 23, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

  • Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 2017 Season Review

    GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 26: Bulldogs coach, Des Hasler speaks to the media following the the round 25 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Cbus Super Stadium on August 26, 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

For the first time in 13 years, a Des Hasler coached side failed to make the top eight as the Bulldogs' attack was seemingly absent for 2017. 

The Bulldogs averaged just 15 points scored per game despite having a line-up littered with Origin experience with a winger in his rookie season picking up top tryscorer and a new recruit getting most assists. The right side was the most potent edge for the Bulldogs - surprisingly more than the left edge of the Morris Brothers - with Marcelo Montoya scoring 12 tries in 19 games while Brenko Lee managed 12 assists, more than any of the team's natural playmakers. However it was the Bulldogs' right edge where they struggled with defensive frailties. 

Moses Mbye's growth as a player became stunted due to the strict style of play  as it did with hooker Michael Lichaa who was released from his contract at the end of the season. Both players are used to playing what's in front of them, using their speed and quick-thinking to catch out the opposition. However having them play to a strict game plan heavily backfired in 2017. 

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Fan favourite Josh Reynolds missed a chunk of the season through injury and was forced out to the Wests Tigers for 2018 onwards after it was announced that Kieran Foran had signed on with the club. James Graham, one of the Bulldogs' most impressive performers all season, was also pushed out at season's end to make way for Aaron Woods. 

Lack of squad depth also punished the Dogs. Only 25 players were used all season with debutants having to be called upon when one of the main 17 was injured. 

The Dogs didn't hit their stride until Round 5 where they went on a run to win four of their next five matches although they only won 2 of their next 12. The Bulldogs waited until the last three rounds of the season to play to their full potential unfortunately, halting Manly's top four charge, defeating the Titans away and ending the Dragons' season. The last showing of form still couldn't save Hasler's job while the club will also experience the change in leadership behind the scenes with CEO Raelene Castle leaving and will be replaced by Andrew Hill.

Best player: James Graham

Top tryscorer: Marcelo Montoya (12)

Top pointscorer: Kerrod Holland (80)

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