Category: Bulldogs

Josh Morris sidelined for 6 – 8 weeks

Josh Morris’ chances of earning a NSW Origin recall have been dealt a massive blow with the Canterbury-Bankstown centre to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks with a torn posterior cruciate ligament. The scans confirmed the tear in Morris’ right knee, which occurred when he fell awkwardly in the lead-up to Kris Keating’s second half try in the win over Wests Tigers on Monday night. Morris had made an early impression with a scorching 95-metre try against the Tigers before his night was brought to a premature end. Bulldogs officials confirmed Morris would spend at least three weeks in a brace before another 3-4 weeks of rehabilitation. The best case scenario would see him return for the Bulldogs’ round eight clash against South Sydney, which would give him just two matches to press his claims for a sky blue jumper. Morris injury soured what was a positive night for the Bulldogs, with new recruits Trent Hodkinson and Frank Pritchard staring for the Bulldogs.

For the next 26 weeks of the NRL Dream Team Competition, I’ll be reviewing the rounds top performers.  To make it in this list each week a player must have a season average of 45 or more and score 50 points or more in the review round.  Mid season, I’ll review the top performers in all the key positions using a different criteria for each position.

There were mixed results across the board in round 1, a few players ventured into the 40’s but only eight broke into the 50’s.  Some high priced stars were disappointing – Corey Parker, Nathan Hindmarsh and Paul Gallen and on the other side of the coin Ashley Harrison (62) and Aiden Tolman (60) were exceptional – the only players in the round to break 60 and for Ashley Harrison, the only Titan to break 40. 

Johnathan Thurston returned to Dream Team form; scoring 55 points and no doubt will make the Cowboys faithful very happy.  It was a case of what could have been though – JT loosing 16 points from mistakes, the worst from the Top Performers.  Continue reading

Bulldogs fresh faces line up

Rising Bulldogs prop Sam Kasiano caps his transformation from NYC teen to NRL star this weekend when he dons the Bulldogs’ No. 10 jersey against the Tigers at ANZ Stadium.Kasiano already has plenty of headlines this year for his outstanding form in the club’s pre-season trials – and it was made obvious why yesterday when he was named ahead of Bulldogs stars Michael Hodgson, Chris Armit and Mickey Paea. He will be joined in the Bulldogs forward pack by second-rower Jake Forster, who stunningly beat prized signing Frank Pritchard for a start. Pritchard, Kasiano, Aiden Tolman, Kris Keating and Trent Hodkinson will all make their debuts for the club.

2010 Top NRL Dream Team Performers

Some of the Top Performers of NRL Dream Team in 2010 (averaging 50 or more) are Corey Parker (Broncos), David Stagg (Bulldogs), Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Cameron Smith (Storm) and Robbie Farah (Tigers) 

Pretty much all the top Dream Team Coaches had them in their side at the end of the season.  We all want them in our team NOW but the $4.2 million salary cap, State of Origin commitments and the bye rounds means we have to choose carefully.

After round 19 last year, I reviewed the top DT performers and published the table below. 

After Round 19

  GMS Ave Pts TR  GO MG TA KM Oth Lost Pts 50’s % 50’s
STAGG 17 52.88 899 0 113 768 1 56 39 11 64.71%
FARAH 17 52.18 887 12 103 591 188 72 79 9 52.94%
HINDMARSH 16 52.94 847 0 134 712 0 74 73 9 56.25%
PARKER 14 57.50 805 108 191 510 3 70 77 13 92.86%
SMITH, C 13 54.00 702 72 62 481 113 42 68 8 61.54%

The table explains itself and may help you with finalising your 25-man squad for the start of the 2011 season.  Something else you should consider is their ability to hold or increase their 2011 starting price.  Continue reading

Bulldogs 30 – Raiders 18

A composed and potent Canterbury punished Canberra in the first half of their NRL trial before running out 30-18 winners at Scully Park on Saturday night. The Bulldogs raced to an 18-0 halftime lead thanks largely to the weight of possession and a superior kicking game, mostly from the boot of new halfback recruit Trent Hodkinson. Winger Bryson Goodwin got the scoring underway in the first few minutes when he crossed in the left corner and then had a hand in the second try as he tipped a kick from five-eighth Kris Keating back for Josh Morris to score the first of his two tries. Yet another cross-field kick, this time to the right from Hodkinson, saw a spilled ball fall for Dogs skipper David Stagg to score the third and Goodwin landed another tough goal. Continue reading

Broncos unveil another possible future star

Exciting Brisbane NRL prospect Dane Gagai has the world at his fleet feet after heeding some stern warnings. Broncos insiders say the son of former Mackay rugby league legend Ray Gagai – who played for Queensland Country and was signed by Brisbane in the late 1980s – is “something special”. The former schoolboy rugby union star steps out on the wing in Saturday’s trial against Melbourne knowing a few flashes of brilliance could snare him a debut berth in coach Anthony Griffin’s side for the season opener against the Cowboys next month. Gagai’s father was so quick his feet eeemed to barely touch the grass. Dane is bigger but agile and by no means a slouch. Continue reading

Stagg might struggle to get the full 80

With an influx of backrow signings at the Bulldogs, lock forward David Stagg admits he might have to shed his tag as one of the NRL’s best 80 minute players. Stagg, who will line up against Canberra in a trial match in Tamworth on Saturday night, has recovered from a shoulder reconstruction in the off-season. Stagg played 40 minutes against St George Illawarra last weekend, coming through unscathed – and he is aiming to push his workload up to 60 minutes against the Raiders to prove he will be a certain starter against the Wests Tigers in round one. But so will fellow backrowers Frank Pritchard, who has overcome a knee problem to be fit for this weekend, and captain Andrew Ryan, who is being rested following a shoulder reconstruction. Continue reading

Pritchard lines up in the Blue & White

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs supporters will get their first look at recruit Frank Pritchard in blue and white this Saturday when the Bulldogs take on the Canberra Raiders in their final NRL trial match. Head coach Kevin Moore has included the New Zealand international on a seven-man interchange bench for the clash at Scully Park, Tamworth. It will be the first match of the year for Pritchard, who was among the Kiwis best during last year’s Four Nations tournament, only to miss the Final with a knee injury. Pritchard is the only player named in the 20-man squad that is yet to participate in a trial match this year. Captain Andrew Ryan and hooker Michael Ennis were not considered for selection but both will be available for the Bulldogs round one NRL clash against the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on Monday, 14 March. Continue reading

Idris excited to return to backline

Jamal Idris wants for his time at second row to be over so he can make a permanent home for himself in the NRL at centre. The Canterbury star says he will play wherever needed, but admits he’s itching to move back to his original position out wide. Canterbury coach Kevin Moore shifted the 20-year-old monster to the backrow last year, to help the club cope with injury problems and add size in the forwards. He’s been named in the No.11 jersey for Friday’s trial against St George Illawarra, but when Frank Pritchard, Andrew Ryan and Greg Eastwood return to the side, the club’s personality player is excited about returning to the backline. Idris’ size and aggressiveness has seen him adapt well to the forwards, but he said Moore hasn’t given any indication he’ll be used there regularly this year. Continue reading

Once the season proper starts I will be looking at each team and some of their key players as we get closer to the start of the silly season – the bye rounds and I’ll use “Dream Team Pro” so at least their will be a bit more information and statistics than last year.

Every year round 9 has a huge impact on coaches with ½ the NRL clubs (8) having their first bye round.  No doubt everyone has had a good look at bye rounds when developing a strategy for the 2011 campaign and finalising your 25-man squad before the round 1 kick of on March 11. 

There is no point in talking about individual players before there is some form on the board so I’ll just point out a couple of other things for the newer coaches to Dream Team that you will need to take into consideration when finalising on your squad.  Continue reading