The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs season came to an end following the club’s final game against the Brisbane Broncos, but there was plenty to like about the finish to the year for the Belmore based club.
The Bulldogs final 10 matches of the season produced seven victories, including four against sides competing in this year’s final series and the other three came against the Panthers, Tigers and Knights.
The backend of the season for the Dogs was built on defence and from rounds 15 to 25, Canterbury only conceded 139 points at an average of 13.9 points per game to be ranked second behind the Sydney Roosters (131) for this period of the year, while Minor Premiers the Melbourne Storm were third with 143 points.
Along with this, Dean Pay’s men were ranked second for tries conceded and line breaks conceded, while being the number one team throughout these rounds for number of offloads per game spearheaded by Corey Harawira-Naera who finished the season with the most offloads (59) from any player in the competition.
Defence was key over this 11-week period and it was the cornerstone to the Bulldogs success, after the opening 14 rounds saw Canterbury concede 338 points at an average of 24.1 per game.
The seven wins was third best equal with the Parramatta Eels, whilst the Storm and Roosters had nine and eight respectively.
The Bulldogs late season form positioned the club in fourth position on the ladder for rounds 15 to 25, while only three points outside the top eight on the full season ladder at the conclusion of the home and away season.
LADDER POSITIONS ROUND 15 - 25
The 2019 season saw new recruits make an impact, local juniors make their debuts, rookies grow in confidence, experienced players continue to lead on and off the field and by season’s end the Bulldogs had found a style of footy to be proud of.
The club started with the youngest squad in the competition and although it has taken time, the final few months has given the playing group, coaching staff and the Bulldogs’ loyal members and fans something to look forward to in 2020.
2019 NRL Player of the Year: Will Hopoate