By Brady Foray Writers
Des Hasler came to the Bulldogs last season in controversial circumstances but nonetheless with a plan. He might have put the “I’m here to make the club competitive” shield up but behind the scenes he was working tirelessly, trying to crack the code behind the Bulldogs’ premiership hopes.
He almost succeeded. The Bulldogs came agonising close, winning the minor-premiership in the process, before going down 14-4 in the grand final to Melbourne.
The club managed to win five from 10 in the opening stages of the competition but wouldn’t lose again until Round 25.
The old saying: You have to lose one to win one has never rang truer for the Bulldogs this season. Though with James Graham suspended until Round 10 and Ben Barba out for an indefinite amount of time; the beginning of 2013 could be rocky for the Bulldogs.
The loss of the Dogs’ two main stars of last season may be lessened with the emergence of a T-Rex stomping around out Belmore way. Tony Williams could be just the man to solidify the Dogs another premiership. The Dogs could be just what the doctor ordered for Williams as he looks to maintain much-needed consistency – something the Origin and Australian representative has never quite been able to manage throughout his career.
Signings: Tony Williams (Manly) (pictured left)
Departures: Bryson Goodwin (Rabbitohs), David Stagg (Broncos), James Gavet (Tigers), Luke MacDougall (retired), Sione Kite (Widnes, mid-season), Jonathan Wright (Sharks), Jake Foster (Raiders), Michael Lett (Illawarra Cutters, mid-season), Tupou Sopoaga (Sharks), Corey Payne (retired)
Key to Success:
22 tries, 23 try assists, 122.6 metres averaged per game, 27 line-breaks and 171 tackle-breaks. Maybe now, for those who may struggle (for whatever stupid reason they hold) with the concept of Barba being the 2012 Dally M Player of the Year will realise how influential the man can be. While he is on ice at the moment, dealing with his off-field demons, Barba is the most influential man on the paddock and the obvious key to success for the Bulldogs this season. Let us hope he gets back on the field sooner rather than later, for the sake of the Bulldogs and NRL fans alike.
Player to Watch:
At 19 years old, he still has one more year of Under 20s but how much time he will see of the Holden Cup this season is yet to be determined. First grade beckons for boom prop David Klemmer. Judged as the Toyota Cup Player of the Year last season, Klemmer (pictured right), an already accomplished NSW and Australian representative schoolboy, will look to fill the breach left by suspended James Graham and injured Sam Kasiano. Remember the name.
Erratic Eddy says:
“What do you get when you combine Cranky Franky and T-Rex in the back-row? A sore everything. That’s what every single NRL player will saying when they go toe-to-toe with this destructive duo. Get the ice ready…lots of it.”
“It is nice to see that loyalty is still strong in the younger generations. David Klemmer, a superstar in the making was having the dollars thrown at him by the Knights but low and behold Klemmer stuck strong and has all but re-signed with the Doggies. Congratulations, David.”
Strongest 17: 1- Ben Barba 2- Steve Turner 3-Josh Morris 4- Krisnan Inu 5- Sam Perrett 6- Josh Reynolds 7- Kris Keating 8- Aiden Tolman 9- Michael Ennis (C) 10- Sam Kasiano 11- Frank Pritchard 12-Tony Williams 13- Greg Eastwood Interchange: 14- James Graham 15- Josh Jackson 16- Dale Finucane 17- Dene Halatau 18th Man: David Klemmer.
Predicted Position: 3rd*
*Established before Ben Barba’s suspension. Too hard to change and re-establish new positions