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Opinion 2018 Season Preview - Zero Tackle

Discussion in 'Bulldogs Discussion' started by chisdog, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. chisdog

    chisdog Kennel Enthusiast

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    https://www.zerotackle.com/2018-season-preview-cantebury-bankstown-bulldogs-31163/

    2017 was a disaster for the Bulldogs. Missing the finals is an almost unthinkable prospect for the club after a long period of sustained success in terms of qualifying for the finals. Des Hasler has paid the price as a result, meaning club legend Dean Pay has the reigns for 2018.

    The club lost the heart and soul of their side as Josh Reynolds and James Graham departed, however in Foran and Woods they’ve arguably upgraded in both positions. I was really surprised to see Brenko Lee released to the Titans following some impressive efforts in 2017.

    Many fans across social media turned on their once legendary coach in Hasler following two seasons of sub par attacking football. I love mentioning the fact that the Dogs halves would rather take the tackle on the last play other than risking a misplaced kick.

    The Dogs need to improve in a big way in 2018 if they want to be anywhere near finals footy. Sides around them have improved, and while the Dogs have recruited two superstars, it’s the change at the top that may make or break their season.

    Recruitment Grading: B

    On paper the Dogs have recruited an international, premiership winning five-eighth and the first prop picked in any representative side. They’ve also picked up the criminally underrated Nu Brown from the Sharks. Although they’ve lost James Graham, Josh Reynolds, Sam Kasiano and Brenko Lee, I’d say the Dogs came out in front overall. The Bulldogs 2018 season relies so heavily on Kieran Foran. If he can rediscover his best form there is no doubt he can lift this talented side to great heights. The question is, when was the last time Foran hit that level of form, consistently? His Warriors stint was ok, but injuries and off-field distractions summed up his tenure. So too his time with the Eels. No doubt there were some brilliant performances mixed in, but overall the Dogs need only the positive side of Foran’s game or this B turns very quickly into a D or worse.

    Star Player: Moses Mbye

    So much was expected of Mbye when he moved into the halves. I’d argue the move was too quick and too much pressure was placed on him, but I absolutely love the publicly announced shift to fullback. Mbye is a running player with clever ball skills. He is a textbook fullback in an attacking sense. His game in the halves lacked a kicking option and he forced to make too many tackles in 2017. The shift negates both deficiencies. I expect a brilliant season by the man once touted as a future Maroon superstar. He played some magical football in the centres but fullback should suit him given his ball playing abilities. Certainly one to watch.

    Strength: Big, talented, aggressive pack

    The Bulldogs boast the two starting Kangaroo props in Aaron Woods and David Klemmer. Throw in Aiden Tolman, Adam Elliott and Josh Jackson and you have a powerful forward pack capable of matching any side in the competition. Greg Eastwood recently had a positive injury update and should be back to his best in 2018. Woods has been brought in to be a pack leader, a role he should flourish in. He was seen as a workhorse for the Tigers and should provide very similar numbers in defense to the man he replaced in James Graham. Klemmer is the key. He is one of the game’s most impactful forwards on his day and I’m backing his 2018 to be a career best season.

    Weakness: Lack of attacking options

    Despite the addition of Foran and Brown I still don’t see where regular points come from in this Dogs lineup. Michael Lichaa looked a far better player in the final rounds once the leash was taken off so perhaps he will inspire a point scoring frenzy. Mbye at fullback provides a better option, but Brown/Frawley and Foran have pressure on them from literally day one. If Foran doesn’t fire, or suffers injury, where does that leave the Dogs? The answer is somewhere around the ‘in big trouble’ area. The Morris boys are fantastic but are the wrong side of 30. Brenko Lee was arguably their best attacking back but has departed. It all comes back to Foran, whoever partners him at halfback, Mbye and Lichaa. Perhaps a move back to the centres for Hopoate will spark something.

    Prediction: 13th

    Placing the Bulldogs is a difficult task. As mentioned above the Dogs season heavily relies on the performances of Kieran Foran and whoever partners him in the halves. It will likely be either Frawley or Brown playing halfback, although the club is trying to convince the Knights to allow Cogger to move across having signed to move to the club from 2019 onward.

    There is no doubt the Dogs will win plenty of battles in the middle. Klemmer, Tolman and Woods are as good a middle three forwards as any side can put forward. Josh Jackson is a rep mainstay and should cause havoc again running wide.

    It all comes down to the question: ‘can the Dogs score enough points in 2018’?

    Unfortunately I just can’t see it. I like Mbye to fullback and I believe Lichaa is a better player than we have seen. Hopoate moves back to the centres but has yet to re-find the form that made him a New South Wales rep extremely early in his career.

    If Foran can play all 24 games, then who knows? If Brown or Frawley can hit peak form early on, then who knows? If Mbye can position himself well from round one, who knows?

    Too many questions in my view. I don’t see the Dogs playing finals footy. They can really finish anywhere from 10th to 14th for mine. 13th.
     
  2. Dogna88

    Dogna88 Kennel Addict

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    It's a fair assessment. Like i said previously. We have alot more questions around our team than ALOT of other teams....

    Those questions will be answered and the negatives rectified over this season. I am expecting a big 2019 and 2020 tbh.... we are still rebuilding
     
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  3. ASSASSIN

    ASSASSIN The Bearded One Premium Member Gilded

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    I predict bottom half of the 8.
     
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  4. gibbobulldog

    gibbobulldog Forum Regular

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    Whoever wrote this is a dead set wanker. DOGS TOP 4 UP THE DOGGYS.
     
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  5. heckler

    heckler Kennel Enthusiast

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    We always preformed best when we were written off.
     
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  6. dogwhisperer

    dogwhisperer Forum Regular

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    Hahaha...13th, what load of crap, how on earth are we going to go worse than last year. We will kill it, mark my words. We will surprise everyone. We have a great squad. An international front row, one of the best attacking hookers in the game, speed at fullback, international no.11 in Jackson, the Morris boys who can still finish off tries given we don’t have boring Des as coach anymore. Hoppa back to his position, Montoya will only get better and better. Foran, give us 15+ games from him and it will be enough to make the 8.
     
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  7. GrogDog

    GrogDog bad attitude

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    Just like the old days! If I was Pay I would be pining this up in the dressing room and see how the boys respond.
     
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  8. Dogzzz of War

    Dogzzz of War Forum Regular

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    I predict 7-10th

    I have higher hopes for 2019 IF we can recruit well.
     
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  9. dogwhisperer

    dogwhisperer Forum Regular

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    I reckon 5-8th, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we get into the top 4 to boot
     
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  10. Alan79

    Alan79 Immortal

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    I think in part the preview was pretty well written. But I think we're going to be pushing for inclusion in the finals at 9-10. If the team get some confidence in the early rounds we could finish high in the eight. There are questions still to be answered about how well Pay will transform our attack, whether Lichaa will produce more than DH running, Mbye's performance in a new position and untested depth. But hopefully anyone that isn't performing well at any stage won't get a free ride in the top grade through the season. Whoever wrote the article seems to have hedged their bets a little by emphasizing that we have some individuals in the side who can do great things on their day. But it's really anyones guess about where we finish.
     
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  11. bcmf

    bcmf Kennel Addict

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    It’s hard to call.

    He is right though, Foran is the key.

    If he fails, then we have no shot caller, and we’re likely heading towards his prediction.

    If he fires up, I can see us pushing towards top 4.
     
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  12. Bulldog_4_Life

    Bulldog_4_Life Kennel Addict

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    I can see us going far next year but falling just short of the big one but I don’t know why but I can’t see anything other then us winning in 2019.
     
  13. Bluebody

    Bluebody The Strategist

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    The elephant in the room he failed to recognise that was squashing his logic was Hasler's style of attacking play was choking the Dogs and in the last 3 games when they cut loose they were a different team and the points came easily!
     
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  14. Typical dog

    Typical dog Forum Regular

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    "Brenko Lee was arguably their best attacking back but has departed".
    Forgot to add in "unforced errors and poor defensive reads would usually gift the opposition at least 10points a game".
     
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  15. Wolfmother

    Wolfmother Immortal

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    Excellent point!


    I've always wanted to see how our team went with natural ability and a bit of tweeking from the coach. They did amazingly without Dess influence in the last 3 games.. I hope Pay doesn't ignore this !!!
     
  16. Sword

    Sword Forum Regular

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    Bottom of the 8.
    We just missed the finals last year playing Desball, therefore I can see us winning more games than losing games
     
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  17. Spoonman84

    Spoonman84 Kennel Addict

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    Making any predictions about us is just throwing darts there’s so many unknown quantities.
    -Can Pay actually coach?
    -Can Mbye excel at fullback?
    -Will Foran last the year and who is his halves partner?
    -Can Lichaa back up his form of late last year?
    If they all come off we will make the 8 but if they don’t we will be bottom 4.
     
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  18. Alan79

    Alan79 Immortal

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    Look at how we did in 2012 with Reynolds (almost a rookie) and Keating as our halves pairing. Neither really had a kicking game or organizational skills. The simple fact that the whole team backed each other up created chances and was instrumental in our forwards using the hot potato football so well. There are some who attribute Barba as being a massive part of our results

    Foran can have more impact than his on field ability alone. I recall reading an article where some of the young Warriors halves spoke about him giving them some great guidance on how to improve their games. So even if he doesn't last the season he will probably play a part in helping to improve the chances of our backups doing well. I hope he has a great season and stays injury free. But I think we're probably better off by the simple fact that Pay will hopefully not think moving a second rower or an injury prone winger/centre into the halves is the best option should injury hit our first choice halves.
     
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  19. bcmf

    bcmf Kennel Addict

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    Sorta agree. I was watching a lot of warriors games last year, and have a good recollection of his time at manly. He is busy off the ball. A real general, ordering players around, getting things in place.

    So while he won’t create opportunities, his leadership skills, IMO, are probably the best since Brett kimmorley. That in itself is a welcome relief from make shift halves like chase Stanley, Reynolds and graham
     
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  20. boggie23

    boggie23 Kennel Addict

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    Exactly. Completely agree. Last year was the worst of the worst. No attacking structure, no game plan apart from an emphasis on ball control. You seriously can’t be coached worse then last year.

    New coach, change up in some personnel, reinventing players. I can’t see us being worse. An emphasis on fitness and defence too. Maybe I’m an optimist. Maybe I’m cracked but excited to see what 2018 has to offer. Not expecting a premiership but definitely not expecting us to be a bottom 3 team. Even if we miss the 8 but play hard hitting defence and skilful offence I will be happy.

    And at the end of the day we should only be improving from here on in because pay picked up des’ disaster. So if we aren’t a title contender in 18 or 19 I’m expecting with positive recruitment and management we will back in the top 4 soon (something Hasler achieved only once which was unacceptable).
     
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