The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs can today announce that they will be joining forces with Mounties Group for the next two seasons and in doing so will create an enhanced pathway that will provide great opportunities for boys and girls all the way from junior level through to the NRL and NRLW.
As part of the joint venture Mounties will represent the Bulldogs in the Canterbury Cup and Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership, while the Bulldogs will continue to look to the future through the development of their junior pathways. This will mean the continuation of the male (Harold Matthews, SG Ball and Jersey Flegg) and female (Lisa Fiaola, Tarsha Gale) teams playing under the Bulldogs banner.
The success of the junior pathways in recent times has seen the likes of Brandon Wakeham, Jake Averillo and Matt Doorey come through to the NRL, while Stephanie Ball and Haneen Zreika have represented the Bulldogs Tarsha Gale Cup side.
In a major coup for the club, former Bulldogs player Mick Potter will coach the Mounties men’s side in the Canterbury Cup next season.
Potter had an illustrious career with the Bulldogs in the eighties, winning the Dally M Medal for Player of the Year in 1984, in addition to playing in two successful Premiership teams for the blue and whites in 1984 and 1985.
After his playing career had finished, Potter turned his attention to coaching and had immediate success in the English Super League, taking the Catalans Dragons to the Challenge Cup Final in 2007, the first time a French side had made the Final in only their second season.
He followed this by taking St Helens to two Super League Grand Finals, before returning to coach the Wests Tigers between 2013-14.
Potter was delighted to be able to resume his association with the Bulldogs :
I am excited about taking on the coaching role at Mounties and to be able to resume my association with the Bulldogs and getting to work with some of the exciting talent that they have coming through.
The role will enable me to work closely with incoming coach Trent Barrett and will have enormous benefit for both clubs as it will provide a great pathway to develop players ready to step up to NRL level the way the likes of Brandon Wakeham and Jake Averillo have in recent years."
Bulldogs Chief Executive Andrew Hill was excited about the potential offered by the joint venture and the appointment of Potter:
“This new partnership offers a real opportunity for both parties to create something special in terms of the support we can offer young boys and girls coming through the pathway to the NRL and NRLW competitions and the appointment of someone of the calibre of Mick Potter to coach the men’s team is a real coup for the club.
With the recent impact of COVID-19 and the pressure that has put on clubs to look at different ways to achieve outcomes, we felt that partnering with a club that has a great history, and is located in the heartland of our supporter base, will create combined resources that can help us both achieve success.
Our Junior Pathway will remain the same. That is important to remember. It will not impact on any 6-21 year-old, male or female player coming through, but what it will do is allow us to create a stronger pathway through to the next level and help the Bulldogs assist in the promotion of rugby league in the local community."
With over 150,000 Members and a great infrastructure, Mounties Group is the biggest club in the state and we believe that this new joint venture can help deliver great results for both organisations in the years to come."
Mounties Group President, Kevin Ingram, OAM, also looked forward to the partnership:
Mounties Group is delighted to formalise this affiliation with the Bulldogs which will see our talented young sport stars have access to a local club for future pathways in the NRL.
The Bulldogs are a huge part of our local community in Western Sydney, with many of our members being fans of the club and we are delighted that it will help Mounties to continue to grow and excel in sport.”