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Ciraldo announces Crichton as new Club Captain, Expresses gratitude to Mahoney and Burton

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs is thrilled to announce the appointment of Stephen Crichton as the new Club Captain for the upcoming season. As we transition into the new season, the Club would like to express its deepest gratitude to Matt Burton and Reed Mahoney for their outstanding leadership and dedication as last year’s on-field Captains.

“Reed [Mahoney] and Burto [Matt Burton] have played integral roles in setting the foundation for our team’s success, both on and off the field. They did an exceptional job being thrown in the deep end last year and put their hands up during a challenging year to help guide our young squad. There were a lot of lessons and learnings out of last year and both Reed and Burto will be better from the experience of it,” Bulldogs Head Coach Cameron Ciraldo said.

This year the Bulldogs have added quality recruits to their roster, players who carry high football IQ, NRL experience and have played a lot of games. The squad now consists of a number of versatile new recruits and young, emerging talents, all whom are leaders in their own right.

One person who has consistently demonstrated their leadership qualities during the pre-season is three-time Premiership winner, Stephen Crichton: “Stephen is a really good reader of energy. He understands when people are a little bit flat, low on energy, and when it’s a bit quiet, and he can change the mood in an instant. Sometimes that’s with some annoying music or sounds, or loud noises that he comes up with but he’s great at bringing people together,” Ciraldo said.

“He really understands bringing positive energy to the group and he’s been such a valuable asset to us this pre-season.”

Ciraldo met with Mahoney and Burton to discuss the way forward in 2024 and the 2023 co-captains agreed, Crichton is the voice the side needs to lead from the front in 2024.

“Reed and Burto’s professionalism and commitment to this team needs to be acknowledged and commended. They very much remain leaders in this group,” Ciraldo said.

Crichton was highly praised for the impact he brought to the Club’s pre-season camp, mostly through his strong communication.

“I just want to lead with my actions,” Crichton said.

“I’ve been at a successful Club and I’ve seen what good leaders look like and I’ve learnt a lot from the older boys that I was with and I’ve taken a few things from each person that I can implement in my life on and off the field, as well as in being a leader.

“Going into the camp I knew straight away the boys were nervous and I knew that my communication and leadership could bring the boys up a bit and make them excited,” he said.

“I was looking at the back end of the camp, when camp was finished, and where this team could go to and I knew that they needed a leader to get them through the camp. So, I just kind of took on that role from the start.

“We have a lot of leaders that were talking through camp just as much as me, and I wasn’t trying to put that pressure just on me, I leaned on them, the other senior boys, just as much as they were leaning on myself.”

When asked what it means to be a Bulldog, Crichton reflected on his first experiences in coming to the Club:

“I just listened to a few of the boys that have been at the Club for a while about how much it means to them and it hit me. It’s a community Club, it’s a family Club. They really do care about their fans.

“I see it as hard-working, proper Dogs. Hungry. I look at the past players, Sonny Bill, Willie Mason, James Graham, players like that. They just did it without hesitation. They were just hard Dogs. That’s what I see the Club as and that’s what Ciro [Ciraldo] is trying to build here: You put the team first, you go out there and you play your heart out. That’s what being a Bulldog means.

“I can’t wait to go out there and play for them [the Bulldogs] and for my family.”

Crichton will lead the Club out to make his Bulldogs debut on Friday night during the NRL’s Pre-Season Challenge Round 2, when the Bulldogs face the Cronulla Sharks at Belmore Sports Ground (Kick-Off 8:00PM AEDT).

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.