A season that started with so much promise for the Canterbury Bulldogs has ended in a crushing loss to the Newcastle Knights.
The Bulldogs came into the 2013 season hoping to return to the Grand Final. They were one of the premiership favourites. They managed to return their Grand Final losing lineup with a couple of key additions…everything was looking great for the Doggies.
Things started going wrong when heading into the season kickoff Ben Barba was stood down. The club refused to say why Barba had been stood down but they claimed Barba’s health came first.
As the season it under way the Bulldogs started the season looking anything but a team that was headed for premiership glory. Barba made a miraculous recovery and was rushed back into the side in a move I questioned at the time. On top of that, Tony Williams started the season terribly. The clubs big name signing looked like a reserve grader. Something that didn’t change through the course of the season.
Soon after rumours started to circulate that Ben Barba wanted to leave the Bulldogs despite all of the support the club had given him.
At that point I had to ask the question….are the Canterbury Bulldogs cursed?
The Bulldogs looked to combat all of the bad news with some positive headlines. Todd Greenberg went on a re-signing spree. On face value it looked great, but at the time I questioned whether it was a good idea to re-sign a lineup that didn’t look like a great side at the time.
Ben Barba go injured, the Bulldogs missed out on Israel Folau, and all this as happening as the rumours of Barba looking to leave the club started to become a roar!
On the field the Bulldogs looked OK at best, but you expected them to turn it around at some point. Even as Ben Barba confirmed he was leaving the club for “personal reasons”, you thought the Bulldogs would turn it around.
Then the bombshell hit. Suggestions that the club covered up an alleged domestic violence incident involving Ben Barba saw even Bulldogs fans turn on the club.
This all saw the Bulldogs come int the finals with a season full of turmoil behind them.
Losing their first game in a smashing at home to the Newcastle Knights just put a full stop on what has been a terrible season for the Bulldogs. The club expected to be one of the true contenders for the title this season and yet they fell way short.
The club not looks forwards next season. There is talk they will make Jarryd Hayne a huge offer to join them next season but after the season the Bulldogs have had, you could forgive their fans for not getting their hopes up.
Bulldogs fans will be happy to have this season behind them. It was nothing short of a disaster on so many levels. There is only one positive that Doggies fans can take out of this season.
At least they are not as bad
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