Canterbury Bulldogs

From Academic Kids

The Bulldogs are a team in the National Rugby League (NRL), the premier rugby league football competition in Australia.

Based in Belmore a suburb of Sydney, the Bulldogs in 1935 were admitted to the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) competition, predecessor of the Australian Rugby League (ARL) and the current NRL competition.

Aside from the founding clubs in 1908, Canterbury were the quickest club to ever win a premiership after admission to the competition, a record which was only recently beaten in 1999 by a new club called the Melbourne Storm. After entering the premiership in 1935, Canterbury won the 1938 Final over Eastern Suburbs. This premiership success was not repeated until 1942 and then again not for another 38 years until 1980, when during the 80s the Bulldogs dominated the competition along with the Parramatta Eels, this was especially apparent during Warren Ryan's tenure as coach. The 80s saw the Bulldogs appear in five Grand Finals, winning four of them. In the 90's the Bulldogs played in three Grand Finals, only winning in 1995. Their last success was in 2004 when they beat the Sydney Roosters 16-13.


Club information

Club Name: Bulldogs (2000- ), Sydney Bulldogs (1995), Canterbury-Bankstown (1935-1994, 1996-1999)
Founded: 1935
Home stadium: Sydney Showground, Homebush (2001- ); Telstra Stadium (1999-2000, 2003) Note: Telstra Stadium was known as Stadium Australia until 2002; Parramatta Stadium (1995); Belmore Sports Ground (1936-1994, 1996-1998)
Head coach: Steve Folkes (1998- )
NRL Team Captain: (2005- ) Andrew Ryan
Uniform colors: Royal Blue and White
Premiership Titles: 8 - 1938, 1942, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1995, 2004
Premiership Runners-up: 8 - 1940, 1947, 1967, 1974, 1979, 1986, 1994, 1998
Minor Premiership Titles: 6 - 1938, 1942, 1947, 1984, 1993, 1994

Club history


The Bulldogs started life as Canterbury-Bankstown joining the NSWRL competition in 1935. The club had the semi-official nickname of the Berries up until 1978 when the name was changed to the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs. In the 1990's the official name was changed around a few times. It went to the slightly grander title of the Sydney Bulldogs before becoming the geographically indistinct "Bulldogs".

Early success

Canterbury's initial season was a remarkable one - for the wrong reasons: arguably the worst season on record. Playing without a home ground, the team suffered a number of massive losses, at one point losing in successive weeks, 6-91 and 7-87 - the two heaviest defeats in the history of the competition.

Amazingly, though, 1935's two wins were improved to nine in 1936 and netted a place in the finals. By 1938, the season featured only one loss, and a first title, defeating former nemesis Easts in the final. A second title followed in 1942.

20 years in the wilderness

A minor premiership (and Grand Final loss) came in 1947, but marked the beginning of an era of little success: from 1948 to 1969, only 1960 and 1967 (another Grand Final loss) saw semifinal action.

By the mid-70's, though, regular finals appearances had returned, and set the stage for their most successful period - the 80's.

Climbing back

The Bullfrog era

Peter 'Bullfrog' Moore was the top administrator at Canterbury from 1970 to 1995. During this time the Bulldogs climbed to the very top of the game.

The Entertainers

In the late 70s and early 80s the Bulldogs under coach Ted Glassop played an exciting and skillful brand of football that got them named 'The Entertainers.


At the end of 1983 the board decided to go on a major rebuilding exercise. New coach Warren Ryan was brought on board, together with a collection of new players. The next year Canterbury set the football world on its head with a new aggressive, defensively oriented way of playing, that was later named by some as Wokball. The team took all before them that year, winning both minor premiership and the Grand Final.

Baa's Boys

Super League War

In 1995, Canterbury were in good shape. They had made the Grand Final the year before, and everything looked set for another good year. Then everything started to change. Canterbury were one of the first clubs to go over to Super League along with the Brisbane Broncos and the Canberra Raiders.

When the news first broke the Bulldogs were asked by the ARL to show why they should not be expelled form the competition. A threat that was soon revoked. Club boss Peter Moore explained that the club had to go across as all the players had already signed without his knowledge, (the only exception was Brett Dallas) and what was a club without players. This is a claim that was doubted by many as not much went on at the club without Bullfrog's knowledge.

As the Super League war went on, it became apparent that the Bulldogs players had came over fairly cheaply, (relative to the heady war days of 1995). The ARL used this knowledge to poach back four of the bulldogs stars, Dean Pay, Jason Smith, Jarrod McCracken and Jim Dymock. This news devastated the club, and things seemed to sink to an all-time low when the Bulldogs lost to the low placed Parramatta Eels the next week. Slowly from this point the famous Bulldogs spirit kicked in and the team gradually started to perform. Then, after making the finals in sixth place, things came together. The Bulldogs inspired by the coming retirement of stalwart Terry Lamb swept through St. George Dragons, Brisbane Broncos, Canberra Raiders and in a Grand Final upset the Manly Sea Eagles to take the title. After the win, Peter Moore told the story of how a very young Steven Price told him that everything would be alright after the terrible night against Parramatta. Bullfrog wondered what an unknown bench player could do to turn things around. After the Grand Final he knew as Price was one of the stars on the day.

The next two years were disappointing with the dogs rebuilding after losing five stars to ARL aligned clubs, but in 1998 things were interesting again. Form was mixed for most of the year with the team needing to win its last four games to make the playoffs. They did this with style and all of a sudden there started to be a feeling in the air out Belmore way that something special might be happening. After beating the North Sydney Bears in the second round, the Bulldogs had to come back in extra time to beat the 1997 ARL premiers Newcastle. In an interview after the game the coach described the performance as the best he had ever seen.

The Salary Cap

Trouble, however, returned in a big way in 2002, with the Club being found guilty of salary cap breaches described by NRL Chief Executive David Gallop as "exceptional in both its size and its deliberate and ongoing nature". The resulting fallout included a $500,000 fine, and a deduction of 37 competition points. The latter action was particularly harmful, as the club were poised to take the Minor Premiership, and during the season had won 17 consecutive matches.

The Bulldogs and the Australian Society

The Bulldogs are known to have some of the most devoted fans in Australian Rugby League. A small group of supporters, known as the "Bulldogs Army", is particularly conspicuous, and occasionally engage in anti-social behaviour.

The Bulldogs players' off-field behaviour have also come under the spotlight, for both good and bad reasons. In early 2004, six Bulldogs players were accused of gang rape; although all the players were subsequently cleared of the charges, this incident had placed considerable strain on the club and its supporters alike.

On a more positive note, Hazem El Masri, a current Bulldogs player of Lebanese descent, has become a role model for Sydney's Muslim community.

Players of note

  • Les Johns
  • Chris Anderson
  • Ron Bailey
  • John Greaves
  • Edgar Newham
  • Terry Lamb
  • Steve Mortimer
  • Frank Sponberg
  • Steve Folkes
  • David Gillespie
  • Kevin Ryan
  • George Peponis
  • Eddie Burns
  • Peter Kelly
  • Chris Mortimer
  • Greg Brentnall
  • Henry Porter
  • Roy Kirkaldy
  • Steve Price

External link

Template:Australasian Rugby League links


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