The Bulldogs finished down in 12th place last season, and they lost four of their last five games. The 2022 off-season saw a big recruitment period for the Bulldogs, who brought in Josh Addo-Carr from the Storm. This key recruitment helped lift the Bulldogs off the wooden spoon position. Can they go further up the ladder this season, and even make the Finals, with another good recruitment period in the 2023 off-season?
The last couple of seasons have been full of positive recruitments for the Bulldogs, and this off-season has certainly not been any different! They’ve convinced some pretty big stars to head to Canterbury in 2023, and none other than Viliame Kikau. Kikau was a key part of the Panthers back-to-back premierships, and he will make a great addition to the Bulldogs. Reed Mahoney is another key addition for the Bulldogs. Mahoney has come from the Eels and was one of their best players last season.
Looking at who the Bulldogs have lost, there are a handful of players, but overall, they are definitely in a better position with all the added players. Jeremy Marshall-King has headed north to the Dolphins, and both Matt Dufty (mid-way through 2022) and Paul Vaughan have left to play for the Warrington Wolves in the Super League.
Ins: Reed Mahoney, Viliame Kikau, Ryan Sutton, Fa'amanu Brown, Hayze Perham, Andrew Davey, Franklin Pele and Josh Reynolds
Outs: Jeremy Marshall-King, Matt Dufty, Paul Vaughan, Corey Allan, Aaron Schoupp, Jack Hetherington, Joe Stimson, Josh Jackson and Ava Seumanufagai
Key Player: Matt Burton
There were a few players that could have taken out this position, but the glue that holds the team together has got to be Matt Burton. The Bulldogs struggled in 2022, finishing in 12th position, but the shining light for the team was Burton. With the addition of Mahoney in the 2023 season, this will help Burton even further. Burton scored six tries last season, and he forced 18 dropouts, along with 14 try assists.
Rising Star: Paul Alamoti
Alamoti has been on the cusp of playing in the NRL since the 2022 season. Things are looking even better for him in the upcoming season, and it looks like he will be making his debut at centre in the first round. The 19-year-old has a lot of strength and there have been many that are already impressed with what they’ve seen so far, including none other than Willie Mason.
5 Key Matches To Watch
Match 1: Round 2, vs Storm, at AMMI Park (Sat, Mar 11, 7:35pm)
Match 2: Round 6, vs Rabbitohs, at Accor Stadium (Fri, Apr 7, 4pm)
Match 3: Round 9, vs Dragons, at WIN Stadium (Sun, Apr 30, 4:05pm)
Match 4: Round 14, vs Roosters, at Industree Group Stadium (Sun, Jun 4, 2pm)
Match 5: Round 15, vs Eels, at Accor Stadium (Mon, Jun 12, 4pm)
2023 NRL Season Expectations
Along with the Tigers, the Bulldogs have had a great recruitment period, and they are certainly on the up. But, with so many changes to their squad, it will take some time before things are like clockwork. They should finish higher than they did last season, but not sure if it will be enough to book themselves into the Finals – potentially another cusp team to watch.