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Members Update - August 2023

Hear from Chairman, John Khoury as he shares an update on general business at the Bulldogs:

Dear Bulldogs Members,

As we progress through the 2023 NRL season, it is my pleasure to provide you with a special update on behalf of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Under our shared vision and guidance, we are embarking on a transformative journey towards sustained excellence. As Chairman, a local and lifelong fan, I am incredibly proud to witness the positive developments within our beloved club.

Building Strong Foundations:

A key aspect of our pursuit of sustained excellence is building a solid foundation for success. We have made substantial investments in our pathways and development programs, as led by General Manager of Football Phil Gould, identifying and nurturing young talents to form the future core of our team. Our commitment to developing homegrown talents is a testament to our dedication to the Bulldogs' long-term prosperity.

Our Junior Rugby League player numbers are just under 3500, our highest registrations since 2019. All junior competitions are now at the business end of the season with finals in full swing and Belmore is booked for all our Junior League Grand Finals. Belmore Sports Ground will also play host to all female tackle competition grand finals from u12s to Open Women’s Gold which continues the great visibility of pathways for local girls in the area from our recent NRLW double-header here.

On the pathways front, we achieved record representation in NSW City v Country, as well as Origin teams off the back of some great junior representative seasons and Logan Spinks of the Greater Northern Tigers went on to earn selection in the U18’s Australian Schoolboys team. A great achievement for the young talent who has now extended his contract with the Club until the end of 2026.

Extending our development reach into the Tasman, the Bulldogs announced a partnership with Canterbury Rugby League to assist in Coach education and upskilling in Christchurch. Rubberstamped in recent weeks, the agreement between the two organisations promises to be an invaluable and mutually beneficial initiative.

The establishment of the Kikau Academy in Fiji also opens the opportunity for more young Fiji players to develop their skills and have a tangible pathway to the NRL through the Bulldogs. While the Club trailblazed female development opportunities for young talented players in our inaugural Elite Pups Scholarship Program. The program involved bringing scholarship recipients to Belmore for a week-long intensive camp, where they underwent coaching and education sessions to equip them with skills, tools, strategies and first-hand experience to learn what it takes to play Rugby League at an elite level. The young women were empowered to take the skills and knowledge back to their current training programs with the view for this first-of-a-king scholarship program to be rolled out year on year from here on out.

On-Field Progress - Resilience & Team Spirit:

The Bulldogs have faced various challenges, but through perseverance and unwavering team spirit, we are emerging stronger than ever. Our players and coaching staff have exemplified the true Bulldogs spirit, displaying grit and determination. These traits are essential as we work towards achieving sustained excellence on the field.

Despite a slew of injuries, our side is somewhat returned to full strength and recent recruitment activities have only added to our player depth and added much-needed experience to our young and talented squad.

Our players have shown great determination, and we are witnessing the positive impact of their efforts in recent matches. While we have faced some tough challenges, we have also celebrated crucial victories that have demonstrated our potential to compete at the highest level. None more so fitting of this resilience than our latest victory over the Dolphins in Bundaberg.

Strategic Recruitment & Retention:

A crucial element of our journey towards sustained excellence is strategic recruitment, which I lightly touched on. We have actively sought to bring in players who share our passion for success and embody the Bulldogs' values. These strategic additions have not only strengthened our on-field capabilities but also contributed to fostering a positive team culture.

In our ongoing pursuit of strengthening the squad, the Bulldogs have made significant player signings. I'm delighted to announce that we have secured the services of several key players who will join our team for the upcoming seasons. These signings are expected to bolster our roster and contribute to our pursuit of success on the field. These signings do not come at the detriment of our talent development. Our strategy remains to build Bulldogs in our own backyard and our continued work through the Bulldogs Academy and satellite programs continues to go from strength to strength.

Beyond Logan Spinks, the Club has proudly extended contracts with Lipoi Hopoi, Chris Patolo, Sam Hughes, Joseph O’Neil and Khaled Rajab.

Signings aside, we have formally farewelled club legend Josh Reynolds in a fitting tribute to someone who has embodied the Canterbury spirit so proudly. While he has retired, he will long continue to be a part of the Bulldogs Family.

Jake Averillo will also depart at season’s end. Whilst the club tabled a fair and reasonable offer in an attempt to keep the talented local junior, Jake was open and transparent in his wishes for a ‘new start’ at the Dolphins. Jake has been with the Club through some tumultuous times, and we are appreciative of his contribution to date. The Club will support Jake in his transition and wish him all the best with his future endeavours. Until the seasons end, he remains strictly focused on doing the best for his current Club and as always, ‘Once a Bulldog, Always a Bulldog’.

Community Initiatives:

As a club deeply rooted in the community, we continue to prioritise our outreach efforts. Since April, the Bulldogs launched a series of community initiatives aimed at making a positive impact on the lives of our supporters. From school visits and junior clinics to charity events, we are committed to giving back and making a difference in the lives of those who support us.

As part of our community and stakeholder engagement activities in the past quarter, we have engaged with and/or donated to the Campsie and Bankstown Police, local schools, the PCYC, Western Sydney University, Clontarf Group, Family of League (formerly Men of League), Canterbury Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred, Westmead Children’s Hospital St Merkorious Charity, CASS Care, CCAI Boots for Brighter Futures, Deadly Choices, the Changing Room Program, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway

We hosted a fabulous Iftar dinner with the support of Hazem El Masri and Arwa Abousamra, a Women In League Luncheon and a Police Leadership seminar, as well as continued ongoing activations with the Local Council, NSW Office for Multiculturalism and the Office of Sport.

In our regional home match in Bundaberg, we have helped drive tourism and events with TEQ QLD and Bundaberg Council, as well as engaged with LifeFlight RACQ, Walk With Me 4 Autism All Abilities and Brave Brothers.

Beyond these extensive activities, we have gladly announced a new Head of Community and Foundation, starting in the role as of November 1. We understand that our success is intertwined with the well-being of the community, and we will continue to engage and support those around us.

Membership Milestones:

I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our loyal Members. Your unwavering support is what drives the Bulldogs forward, and I am proud to announce that we have surpassed a significant milestone in membership numbers, not only besting a record 20,000 Members since 2016 but surpassing beyond 22,000.

Your commitment to the club is inspiring, and we will continue to strive for excellence both on and off the field to make you proud.

Commercial Acumen:

The 2023 Season has proved to be a successful campaign for our corporate partners and our corporate department, achieving near-record sales through an unwavering dedication to our service program.

Notably, the connections fostered through our Bulldogs in Business Program have significantly enhanced the Club's impact, reach and engagement with like-minded businesses driven to achieve successful outcomes for all parties involved.

Preparations for the upcoming season are well underway, with a number of partners already pledging their commitment to the club for season 2024 and beyond. These new and renewing partnerships encompass a diverse array of pivotal assets integral to the Club's success heading into a new season come November 1.

Backed by a record year in retail sales and a number of key sell-out games, the commercial acumen of the Club, under CEO Aaron Warburton's expert guidance, has helped us lay a positive foundation for the 2024 season. The promotion of Stuart Martin, who has championed the growth of the commercial program, to General Manager of Commercial demonstrates the Club’s commitment to continuing to grow and stretch the commercial program to unprecedented heights in the near future. 

New Club Facilities:

In an effort to provide our players with world-class training facilities, we have commenced the first steps towards the construction of a world-class Centre of Excellence. This facility will further enhance our players' development and help attract top talent to the club. We are excited about the opportunities this development will bring to the Bulldogs' future.

Digital Enhancements:

To better connect with our Members and fans, the Bulldogs have invested in digital enhancements to improve the matchday experience and provide exclusive content to our supporters. Our brand new ‘Bulldogs Benefits’ mobile app provides our Members with exclusive access to hundreds of savings at their fingertips and our forward-thinking approach allows us to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving sport.

As the lowest-priced club when it comes to Membership, we are extremely pleased to be continuing to find ways to provide our Members with even more value than ever before.

To continue to deliver great outcomes for our Members and better improve your digital experience, we have welcomed a new General Manager of Marketing in Phil Valentine. Phil- a former Bulldogs employee, returns to the Club as the former Head of Marketing at the NRL and brings an extensive wealth of knowledge and experience in digital transformation. We cannot wait to welcome new initiatives and improved customer experience under his guidance. We are greatly looking forward to launching our 2024 campaign and are pleased to have Phil on board, leading the journey for us.

Unity and Inclusion:

At the heart of our journey towards sustained excellence is the unity and inclusion that binds us together. We are a diverse community and the ‘Family Club’, representing different backgrounds and cultures, but our shared passion for the Bulldogs unites us as one.

We value every Member, fan, and supporter, and together, we form an unbreakable bond. We want to thank every Member who participated in our recent reform focus groups. We enjoyed engaging with our Members and hearing from them. Our Members are a lifeblood and we want to run more of these groups so that we can continue to support our Members in the best ways possible.

We are currently working with the NRL to express our ongoing interest in the hosting of Multicultural Round here at Belmore Sports Ground. The Club is committed to celebrating our diversity and as a culturally rich hub, we have ambitions to grow the activities surrounding Multicultural Round to be a community-wide event for all to enjoy.

In recent weeks having embraced the NRL’s Women In League Round, we were also proud to champion many aspects of the women’s game, both on and off the field, as we work towards an NRLW licence application for the competition’s next expansion in 2025. You can learn more about the club’s commitment to the advancement and progression of women’s rugby league at Canterbury, here.

Upcoming Events:

As we progress through the season, we have some exciting events lined up for our Members. From a special Family Round in Round 26 to our annual Members Christmas Party there will be plenty of opportunities for you to engage with the Club and fellow supporters.

As we look ahead, I am filled with confidence that our dedication and hard work will propel the Bulldogs towards new heights. The journey towards sustained excellence is not an easy one, but with your unwavering support and belief, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way.

Thank you for being an integral part of this journey. Together, we will continue to make history and leave a legacy that future Bulldogs will be proud to uphold.

Go the Bulldogs!


John Khoury,

Chairman, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

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.