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Jersey Flegg season 2021 review

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 2021 Jersey Flegg side were sitting fourth on the competition ladder with 17 points at the suspension of the year, but, unfortunately, the season was cut short due to COVID-19.

The squad, coached by Luke Vella, started the pre-season with 33 players (12 contracted, 9 ‘Train and Trial’, as well as 12 SG Ball players), whilst seven of the squad did some form of pre-season with the NRL group.

From the 33 members of the Flegg team, 24 players made their debuts for the Club at the Under 21’s level in 2021.

A positive sign for the pathways at the club was the number of players who debuted at the NSW Cup and NRL level this year. Four of the club’s six NRL debutants this year - Aaron Schoupp, Jackson Topine, Bailey Biondi-Odo and Chris Patolo were all eligible to play in the under 21’s, while Declan Casey and Larson Dale-Doyle made their debuts in the reserve grade competition.

Another great sign for the club and its pathways programs, was the push from the SG Ball squad, with 11 players making the transition from the under 19s to 21s level, by the end of the year. Khlaed Rajab, Cam Lawrence, Eli Clark, Diego Bravo-Graham, Charlie Lennon, Lipoi Hopoi, Bayley Cox, Jack Todd, Turoa Williams, Joseph O’Niell and Paul Alamoti all featured throughout the season. The experience they will take into the 2022 season bodes well for the club moving forward.

The Bulldogs played 15 games during season 2021, won seven, suffered five defeats and had a 24-all draw with the Wests Tigers in Round Five.

Whilst every loss hurts, going down to the South Sydney Rabbitohs (Rd4) and the St George Illawarra Dragons (Rd15), to last minute field goals, as well as a last-minute intercept try to the Parramatta Eels in Round Eight, hurt the sides’ chances of pushing further up the ladder.

There were some standout performances from the team, including the Round Seven clash with the Cronulla Sharks resulting in a 28-12 victory after losing two players to injury, one to HIA and another to the sin bin. The Round 12 match with the Penrith Panthers saw the team claim a 22-12 win in a physical and hard fought game after being beaten by the Panthers earlier in the season by 46 points. Whilst the 32-16 win over Parramatta in Round 15 was the most under control team performance of the season.

Individually there were some impressive performances throughout the season and none more so than Kurtis Morrin. Morrin was named the Club’s Jersey Flegg Player of the Year and he led from the front both on and off the field. A move to lock saw him control the middle in attack and defence, averaging 109 running metres and 21 tackles per game. His leg speed and ball playing ability through the middle, was the highlight of his game.

Kurtis Morrin - 2021 Jersey Flegg Player of the Year
Kurtis Morrin - 2021 Jersey Flegg Player of the Year

Mateo Tatolo was very good for the team on and off the park, with his ‘can do’ attitude and professionalism. Usually a lock forward, he did a huge job in the back row for the team, especially in defence where he averaged 31 tackles per game. Other players such as Ryan Gray, Bailey Biondi-Odo, Chris Patolo, Josh Kalati and Bailey Haywood all played crucial roles in the team’s performances each week. 

Overall, a successful year and with just under half the squad returning, the Flegg side will look for improvements in 2022.

2021 RESULTS

SEASON HIGHLIGHTS

2021 Jersey Flegg Season Highlights