The Bulldogs, a proud past writes HateQld – Established in 1935 and winning their first premiership only 3 years later in 1938, justÂ thirty years afterÂ Rugby League was born – the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs have hadÂ their fairÂ share ofÂ success on the football field.
Their have been unwanted headlines too, dating back before the start of the NRL too – controversy has never been far from the Bulldogs.
Regardless,Â many great players to have donned on the blue and white jersey and run out for the Bulldogs onto Belmore Oval or more recently Stadium Australia.
In their firstÂ Rugby League year the Berries as they were known then, received the biggest defeat in Rugby Leagie history. The much fancied St George Dragons served them up a 91 -6 smashing and then there was the forgettable hammeringÂ by the Eastern Suburbs Roosters to the tune ofÂ 87 – 7.
Fast forward to 2008, Canterbury now holds many great records – they were the team in 1967 to stop the mighty St George Dragons winning a twelfth consecutive premiership, only losing to the South Sydney Rabbitohs on a runaway intercept try by Bob McCarthy in the Grand Final who was to join the club in the mid seventies after he was unwanted by Souths and was later joined by an other Rabbits player in Gary Stevens.
During the mid 1970’s the Bulldogs were coached by a quietly spoken Ted Glossop, they threw theÂ ball around all over the field , scoring one the best tries ever to be seen. The movement started in their own halfÂ by a rampaging Norm Thomas, after the play the ball , the side to side movement of the ball across the field began ,Â first to the right , back to the left ,then back to the right in a movement which saw at least fifteen pairs of hands handle the football , with some touching it twice and the Hughes brothers combining to send Don Moseley across the line.
Such was the quality of Canterbury in theÂ mid 1970’s they were turning on the entertainment week in, week out.
Canterbury had to wait until 1974 to make an other Rugby League Grand Final appearance, losing 19 – 4 to an Easter Suburbs side coached by the late Jack Gibson and captain by Arthur Beetson .
The following few years they managed toÂ reach the finals on five occasions missing out only once in 1977 . St George got revenge on the Bulldogs in 1979 taking the crown 17 -13 , a bitter sweet moment for the Dragons , for whom the Bulldogs had stoppedÂ from doing that twelfth consecutive victory lap.
The following year the Bulldogs turned the tables on the 1974 result by beating the Eastern Suburbs RoostersÂ 18 – 4 . OnÂ that day at the SCG the Bulldogs scored a try which is stillÂ talked about today. Fullback Greg Brentnall takes a pass from near the half way line , running at full pace putting up a bomb, and to everyone’s surprise , Canterbury
winger Steve Gearin taking the ball on the full to score one of the best grand final tries at the SCG , a treasured ground for many rugby league grand finals.The only team to have two sets ofÂ brothers to appear in a winning grand final team Mark ,Graham and Gary HughesÂ and the Mortimer boys Steve, Peter and Chris .
During the eighties they would share the tile ofÂ best clubs with arch rivals the Parramatta Eels ,who shared Belmore Sports Ground with the Bulldogs while Parramatta Stadium was being built . The Bulldogs winning the premiership four times during the eighties , taking the tile in 84, 85 , losing to the Eels in 86 in the first try less grand final. Lead by the brilliance of Steve Mortimer and coached by the controversial Warren Ryan a man who based his game on defence , the entertainers became the enforcers,as the low score lines during those three grand finals would indicate .
The scores during those years would represent more ofÂ aÂ tennis game at Wimbledon rather than a Rugby League game , 6 – 4 , 7 – 6 , andÂ 4 – 2 .They only had to wait two years to regain the trophy , in 1988 defeating the Balmain Tigers .The Tigers were coached by the old master Warren Ryan who took them to three consecutive grand finalsÂ .The Bulldogs again appeared in four more deciders losing in 94 and 98, winning in 95 and 2005.
Along with all the success, the club also have personal achievements .Terry Lamb the only player to have played in every match on a Kangaroo tour.Steve Mortimer was the first NSW captain to win a state of origin series for the blues.Hazem El masri is about to become the greatest points scorer in the game .
Disappointment has also beenÂ inflicted andÂ a lot of controversy along the wayÂ , and hate came at the club at every angle, from every rival fan. The salary cap scandal in 2002 , followed by the Coffs Harbour alleged rape incident , followed by players who couldn’t keep out of the media for more than a month.
Now comes along the Sonny Bill Williams affair.
Sonny Bill Williams was brought into the club at a young age, moulded andÂ supported into the big time. He was a sensation.Â The BulldogsÂ were to become a victim of their own success, SBW launched them into the NRL big time with a 2004 Grand Final win – but maybe he was getting too many pats on the back and eventually started to believe he was bigger than the game.Â
While naturally the NRL is a business these days and clubs will on occasion ‘cut’ playersÂ who aren’t peforming – theyÂ has always been the sanctity of a ‘contract’. The most important issue at hand now, is the Sonny Bill Williams has simply walked out on a binding contract. No regard for the Bulldogs club or the NRL competition as a whole.
Then there are the side issues, the kick in the guts to team mates. SBW walks out on a struggling team of mates who are battling to avoid the NRL wooden spoon. I am sure if the Bulldogs were chasing a Top 4 finish – that Sonny Bill Williams would be very keen to stick around and share the success.
Plenty has been written about Sonny and hisÂ decision to flee the country; but as others have already pointed out -Â with SBW falling into the company of Khoder Nasser and Anthony Mundine, there was always going to be problems.
Firstly, full credit to Nasser and Mundine for their ability to make money. First and foremost they are very good at that,Â the way they have turned Anthony Mundine into a ‘villian’ in the Australian publics eyes has made them massive dollars -Â veryÂ astute.Â MundineÂ seems content to be a ‘hated’ man because it brings him big dollars and thats fine. But when it comes to Sonny Bill Williams, who plays a team sport – is it really the best move for SBW long term?
By linking withÂ Khoder Nasser, Sonny Bill WilliamsÂ looks to be able to earn a significant payrise by taking the alleged Nasser advice to fleeÂ the country and ply his trade internationally.
Accepting a higer paying job is understandable, but to disregard a contract and drop your mates in the deep end is truly a ‘dog’ act. As they say “If you lie down with Dogs, you get Fleas” and it seems SBW has really had a good lay down in the Nasser/Mundine camp.
It’s all history now, the chances of Sonny Bill Williams playing NRL again are remote and theres every chance that the talented youngster might regret his decision in the years ahead.
As forÂ Canterbury, theyÂ have had plenty of success in the past and will see more in the future – they have signed quality talent for 2009 and have strong stars coming through in the likes of Ben Barba.
Previously the Dogs have alwaysÂ hadÂ a very tough and no nonsense administration, the family club run by the astute and uncompromising CEO in Peter “Bullfrog “Moore . Todd Greenberg should take a leaf out Bullfrogs book and let the players know , if you don’t want to be of this once very successful club , then show them the exit door, no mercy.No player is to big for the game. For those who do the game and their respective clubs proud are the players the league needs to reward .