Over the course of the pre-season bulldogs.com.au will analyse each position in the Bulldogs Top 30 squad, along with the options Dean Pay has in 2020.
The four players Pay has available to wear the number two and five jerseys are Reimis Smith, Jayden Okunbor, Nick Meaney and Christian Crichton.
Reimis Smith, played in 23 matches for the club in 2019 and was the club’s top try scorer with 12 tries. He has proven to be one of the most talented outside backs in the NRL and a real finisher. Since making his debut, the 22-year old has scored 21 tries from 35 appearances. He averaged 109 running metres per game, 32 tackle breaks and six line-breaks in his third NRL season. Reimis’ impressive year was capped off with selection in the New Zealand World Nines squad, as well as a contract extension that keeps him at Belmore until the end of 2021.
Jayden Okunbor, a local junior from the Milperra Colts club made his NRL debut in 2019 against the Wests Tigers and the 196cm giant certainly made an impact. In his first match, the winger ran for 214 metres and was part of a win on debut. Then In his second NRL game against the Melbourne Storm, Jayden steamrolled Cameron Smith with a couple of bulldozing runs leaving the Storm skipper on the ground. Overall he averaged 173 running metres per game, along with 25 tackles breaks, 11 line-breaks and five tries from his 10 appearances in his rookie season. The 22-year old signed a two-year contract extension with the Bulldogs early in the year to keep him at Belmore until the end of 2021.
Nick Meaney arrived at the club in 2019 and made his debut for the Bulldogs in round three against the Wests Tigers at fullback. He then shifted to the wing position in round 14 following the arrival of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. The 22-year old’s stats from his 11 appearances in the number two jersey included, 28 tackle breaks, an average of 102 running metres, four line-breaks and six tries. A standout performance against the Brisbane Broncos in round 25 was a highlight, featuring three tries and five goals for a total of 22 points to become the highest individual point scorer for a Bulldogs player in a match against the Broncos in the history of the club. Safe under the high ball and with great leg speed, Meaney finished the season with 22 games under his belt after making his NRL debut in 2018.
Christian Crichton arrived at the Bulldogs on a three-year deal with season 2020 being the Samoan Internationals’ second year with the club. He made his Canterbury debut in the opening game of the year against the New Zealand Warriors, scoring a try. His season was then interrupted with injury and he managed only five NRL matches in his first year in his new colours. From his five appearances, he had nine tackle breaks and averaged 151 running metres per game. Throughout 2019, the 23-year old speedster played 12 games for the club’s Canterbury Cup side and his stats included, eight tries, 41 tackle breaks, 10 line-breaks and an average of 112 running metres per game. Fit and firing, Christian will provide plenty of competition for the two wing spots.