The Bulldogs marquee signing has been announced as the club captain this season. (Image: Supplied)

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have announced that their marquee recruit Stephen Crichton is the new Club Captain for the upcoming season.

The Bulldogs do recognise the contributions of Matt Burton and Reed Mahoney’s leadership as last year’s on-field captains.

“Reed [Mahoney] and Burto [Matt Burton] have played integral roles in setting the foundation for our team’s success, both on and off the field. They did an exceptional job being thrown in the deep end last year and put their hands up during a challenging year to help guide our young squad. There were a lot of lessons and learnings out of last year and both Reed and Burto will be better from the experience of it,” Bulldogs Head Coach Cameron Ciraldo said.

Ciraldo has spoken highly of Crichtons’ presence since joining the Bulldogs, seeing the consistent practice of the former Panther player’s leadership qualities and confidence.

One person who has consistently demonstrated their leadership qualities during the pre-season is three-time Premiership winner, Stephen Crichton: “Stephen is a really good reader of energy. He understands when people are a little bit flat, low on energy, and when it’s a bit quiet, and he can change the mood in an instant. Sometimes that’s with some annoying music or sounds, or loud noises that he comes up with but he’s great at bringing people together,” Ciraldo said.

“He really understands bringing positive energy to the group and he’s been such a valuable asset to us this pre-season.”

With this decision, Reed Mahoney and Matt Burton have shown their professionalism and are still committed to the club, with Ciraldo commending the duo for having a presence within the Bulldogs playing group to this day.

“Reed and Burto’s professionalism and commitment to this team needs to be acknowledged and commended. They very much remain leaders in this group,” Ciraldo said.

Crichton has spoken publicly about wanting to be the man who takes charge in high-stakes situations and intense games and does not want to lean on others.

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“I just want to lead with my actions,” Crichton said.

“I’ve been at a successful Club and I’ve seen what good leaders look like and I’ve learnt a lot from the older boys that I was with and I’ve taken a few things from each person that I can implement in my life on and off the field, as well as in being a leader.

“Going into the camp I knew straight away the boys were nervous and I knew that my communication and leadership could bring the boys up a bit and make them excited,” he said.

In Crichton’s first three months at the club, he has formed a lot of experiences, appreciating the club for being so interconnected with the fans and how much the club means to his teammates.

“I just listened to a few of the boys that have been at the club for a while about how much it means to them and it hit me. It’s a community club, it’s a family club. They really do care about their fans.

“I see it as hard-working, proper Dogs. Hungry. I look at the past players, Sonny Bill, Willie Mason, James Graham, players like that. They just did it without hesitation. They were just hard Dogs. That’s what I see the Club as and that’s what Ciro [Ciraldo] is trying to build here: You put the team first, you go out there and you play your heart out. That’s what being a Bulldog means.

“I can’t wait to go out there and play for them [the Bulldogs] and for my family.” 

Crichton will play for the club for the first time in the second trial for the Bulldogs, where they face the Cronulla Sharks in the doubleheader at Belmore Sports Ground, with kick-off at 8:00 PM AEDT.

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