13/08/2022
Bulldogs celebrate try

Bulldogs elated celebrating after scoring a try (credit Bulldogs twitter)

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have had another difficult season. With only two wins what can the Dogs get from the rest of the season?

Snapshot of the season

The Bulldogs have only managed two wins for the season. Unfortunately, it has been a continuation of last season’s poor efforts. While the side is clearly in a rebuilding period, fans begin to get restless with no evidence of improvement. With the Bulldogs only wins coming against the Sharks and the Dragons, they will need to try and find positives out of what has been a miserable season.

What has worked

In a season with only two wins, it is hard to say anything has worked. Coach Trent Barrett was even in tears after the sides first win against the Sharks. So, while the results are not there, the passion and love for the club is apparent. This passion is important if the team wants to improve in the last part of the season.

Nick Cotric has been the stated-out player for the Bulldogs. At only 22 years of age, Cotric could very well be a future captain and star of the Bulldogs. He has played the equal most minutes for the Dogs. He has also had the most metres run to go along with the three tries he has scored. Hopefully, the Bulldogs can find a way to keep this superstar at the club.

From a defensive point of view, Adam Elliot has been incredible. The Bulldogs issue has primarily come from not scoring. However, on the defensive end, Elliot is dominating. To date, Elliot has made 449 tackles from his 14 matches, putting him 13th in the NRL for tackles. Another issue for Elliot is his discipline, having given up six penalties this season. At 26 years of old, Elliot is a player that the Bulldogs can rebuild around.

What has not worked

It is easy to point out everything as wrong for a side that is currently two wins and 12 losses. However, there are specific reasons for the failure. The Bulldogs are clearly in a rebuild with a young list, and without the superstar power that other clubs possess, every season is difficult for the Bulldogs.

Losing the captain Josh Jackson with injury for an extended period was difficult. Josh Jackson has been an essential servant of the club for an extended period. His experience as captain to compliment an inexperienced coach is vital.

Most importantly, what has not worked is scoring. The Bulldogs have not been able to find the scoreboard throughout the season. In most matches, the Dogs have been competitive, but the try line has been allusive. Dallin Watene-Zeleznik has been the sides most prolific scorer with five tries, which puts him 48th in the competition.

Jack Hetherington needs to look upon himself, in a side that is struggling penalties are sins. Hetherington has given away eight of them in only nine matches. This puts him 5th in the NRL for penalties conceded. Some introspection is needed from Hetherington to control himself and be more disciplined.

Who Needs To Lift

Jake Averillo: While he is only 20, it may be harsh to criticise the young man too much, but there is greatness within Averillo. There are a couple of areas where he can improve. Firstly, his goal kicking, he is currently only kicking at 77%, which is not good enough for the level. In addition, his five penalties have also been an issue for the Bulldogs, along with his 13 errors for the season. Averillo is undoubtedly a future star, but for the Bulldogs to gain success in 2021, he needs to take his game to the next level.

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The Run Home

The run home looks difficult, with only four games against the top eight for the rest of the season, there are possible wins. While finals are out of the question at this point. The Bulldogs can still improve during the rest of the season.

Remaining Matches

July 3rd v Sea EaglesJuly 10th v Roosters
July 18th v RabbitohsJuly 25th v Sharks
August 1st v TitansAugust 8th v West Tigers
August 15th v WarriorsAugust 21st v Knights
August 29th v Sea EaglesSeptember 5th v West Tigers

Can the Bulldogs play finals

Finals are out of the question for the Bulldogs. With two wins from 14 matches, it is statistically impossible for the Dogs to finish within the top eight in 2021. This does not mean that the side cannot take positives out of the rest of the year.

The Bulldogs have a huge cohort of young stars, and the development of these stars will be a massive benefit for 2021. It is Barrett’s first season as coach of the Bulldogs, and as such, a lot more cannot be asked of him. He has a passion for the club, and his development as a coach will be furthered hugely by coaching the rest of the season. Overall, the rebuild needs to continue, it will be a long and slow process, but the side is beginning to look much better already.

Players to return from injury

The Bulldogs do not have any Origin players but are waiting on a cohort of players to come back from injury. Brad Deitz is looking to come back from a hamstring in round 16. Round 16 will also see Jayden Okunbor come back from a knee injury. Chris Smith is also looking at coming back from an ankle injury towards the end of the season, as is Raymond Faitala-Mariner. The significant injury for the Bulldogs is Christian Crichton, who is out of the season with a severe knee injury.

The Bulldogs have had a difficult season and are amidst a massive rebuild. The Bulldogs next take the field on July 3rd against the Manly Sea Eagles live from Bankwest stadium live from 3 pm.

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