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Hayes happy to continue the family connection

A lengthy family connection with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs not only brought Harry Hayes into the fold, it has helped him blossom in the Jersey Flegg Cup side.

Hayes will begin 2023 in the centres once again after finishing 2022 in the back row.

He played every game last year swapping between the two positions. But Hayes hasn’t always felt as needed by the club.

A junior from The Entrance Tigers, his pedigree includes grandfather, Welsh-born Canterbury-Bankstown prop Merv Hicks, who played for Great Britain as well as being a member of the 1967 Grand Final team that suffered a close loss to South Sydney (12-10).

“My pop used to play for the Dogs when they used to be known as the Berries… and he talked with (Bulldogs recruiter) Mark Hughes and I came down while in high school and did a bit of training with them,” Hayes told

“It has been a weird journey. I didn’t make SG Ball two years ago, so my confidence took a hit that year. I came back to the Central Coast and linked again with the Tigers in the senior comp,” he said.

“I enjoyed that a lot as I was playing against 20-to-30-year-olds and it was tough footy. It helped get my confidence back,” Hayes said.

“The Bulldogs asked me to come back down. I went into last season not expecting much but ended up playing every game.”

The Bulldogs are looking for a more consistent season in 2023, which kicks off this Saturday at 4 Pines Park at Brookvale against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.

Last year three wins from their first five games dovetailed into losing six in a row (rounds 12-17) before beating South Sydney in round 18 and then a strong 42-22 win over the Canberra Raiders as part of a five-match streak.

“We had a lot of injuries last year. We used about 50 or 51 players, so our performances weren’t good enough in that period,” Hayes said.

“We had that Canberra trip later (round 19) and we got together and bonded well and played much better that game. We started on that little run at the end.

“This year we’re itching to get on the field and put it all together because we’ve definitely got the talent. We’ve just got to calm down a bit and listen to the coach, so we don’t play too individually.”

One of his role models is certainly his grandfather.

“I’ve always looked up to my pop – always wanted to carry that legacy ever since I got back to the Bulldogs,” Hayes said.

“I see his name up on the wall and it’s a nice feeling.”

Hayes likes the defensive challenge of the backline but leans a little more towards the greater involvement playing in the forwards brings.

“I feel like our squad is working hard to not let the other team get any momentum,” he said. “I like working hard to get that back – it’s a grind.”

Higher honours are also a mission of Hayes after playing two games in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup last year – on the wing.

“I enjoyed it – I scored two tries. It’s all good experience. I played centres in the trial against Newtown so if I want to keep going up (to NSW Cup) I need to keep playing at that pace and contact.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.