History of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

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The history of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs stretches from the 1930s to the present day. Based in Belmore, a suburb of Sydney, the Bulldogs in 1935 were admitted to the New South Wales Rugby Football League (NSWRFL) competition, a predecessor of the current NRL competition.

The Bulldogs won their first premiership in just their fourth season (1938). At the time it made them the quickest club (barring the founding clubs) to win a premiership after admission to the competition, a record which was only recently beaten in 1999 by the Melbourne Storm. They won a second premiership in 1942 but then had to wait another 38 years before breaking through for a third title in 1980. During the 1980s, the Bulldogs were a dominant force in the competition appearing in five Grand Finals, winning four of them. In the 1990s they featured in the 1994, 1995 and 1998 Grand Finals, winning the title in 1995 over Manly. Their most recent success was in 2004 when they beat the Sydney Roosters 16–13. The try scorers were Hazem El Masri and Matt Utai, and the Clive Churchill Medal winner was Willie Mason.


The Canterbury-Bankstown region in Sydney's southwest had a thriving rugby league culture and local competition from 1922 onwards,[1] By 1930 the club had won the President's Cup competition[1] and afterwards applied repeatedly to join the Sydney senior competition, finally being successful on 24 September 1934. The main barrier had been the lack of a suitable ground, which the NSWRL had set as a condition of entry. The club covered as territory the municipalities of Bankstown and Canterbury, taking them from St George and Western Suburbs. It would share the subrubs of Earlwood and Hurlstone Park with Newtown.[2] It took part for the first time in 1935.

First Season

Canterbury played its first premiership match against North Sydney on Anzac Day, 25 April 1935 at North Sydney Oval. In a match refereed by Tom McMahon, Norths won by a margin of 20 points to 5. Scorers for Canterbury-Bankstown were a try to Jack Hartwell, Snr and a penalty goal to Tom Carey. Hartwell was a prop forward, whilst Carey was a halfback or five-eighth who had been a Canterbury junior before playing with St George.

The first Canterbury team was: George Main, Vince Dwyer, Jack Morrison (c), Sid Elliott, Basil Crawford, Harry Brown, Tom Carey, Frank Sponberg, Alan Wellington, Jack McConnell, Jack Hartwell Snr, Bob Lindfield and Fred Chaplin and was coached by Tedda Courtney.

Canterbury’s initial season was a remarkable one – for the wrong reasons. Playing without a home ground, the team suffered a number of massive losses, losing in successive weeks during May 6–91 to St George and 7–87 to Easts – the two heaviest defeats in the history of the competition.[3] The club managed to avoid the wooden spoon by twice defeating the winless University, but still conceded 140 tries in sixteen matches or an average of 8.75 tries per game, which is easily the highest figure in NSWRFL/NRL history.[4]

Early success

After the disastrous 1935 season, Canterbury became determined to achieve success and especially to improve the backline – the chief cause of the 1935 failures.[5] They bought fullback Tom Kirk from Tumut, centre and captain Allan Brady from Western Suburbs, threequarter Joe Gartner from Newtown and ex-Bluebag prop Henry Porter from Goulburn. Along with champion coach Frank Burge, these buys improved the Cantabs from 1935's two wins to nine in 1936, netting a place in the finals.

In 1938, the Cantabs suffered only one loss, and a first title, defeating former nemesis Easts 19-6 in the final. Instrumental in the club’s success was the front row combination of props Eddie Burns and Henry Porter and hooker Roy Kirkaldy. The club also won the reserve grade premiership the same year. Canterbury made the grand final again in 1940 but lost to Easts 24-14. After long their semi-final in 1942, Canterbury finished on top of the ladder with Balmain in 1942, and secured the minor premiership after the NSWRL ruled that a play-off was necessary and they beat the Tigers 40–20. Canterbury were defeated by St George 35–10 in the semis, but as minor premiers had the right to challenge in a grand final which saw them defeat the Dragons 11–9 in wet conditions after the scores were even at half-time.

Decline as a Power

Remarkably – though largely due to the influence of World War II which deprived them of stars Porter and Newham, along with Bob Farrar and Bob Jackson[6] – Canterbury fell from premiers in 1942 to wooden spooners in each of the following two seasons. As players returned from service in the war, the club did regain its strength, finishing sixth in 1945, third in 1946 and on top of the table in 1947. They finished the competition three points clear of the Balmain Tigers with Newtown and Wests making up the four. They beat Newtown 25-15 in the first semi but lost to Balmain 25-19 in the final. As they had been minor premiers, they had the right of a rematch to force a Grand Final. However, Canterbury were unsuccessful, going down 13-9 after leading 7-4 at half time.

Their loss of the 1947 campaign was, more than the lapse of 1943 to 1945, the end of their first successful period. With the retirement of the famous front three of Eddie Burns, Roy Kirkaldy and Henry Porter (remarkably, none ever played for Australia owing to the war), Canterbury was unable to develop top-line players or attract them to their ranks, for the club’s budget in this era was largely devoted to the establishment and development of their licensed club.[7] Ron Willey was their sole Australian international between 1948 and 1962, but never played a Test match, and even a spell by Australian coach Vic Hey in 1955 and 1956[8] did not move them up the ladder.

In 1948 they won only seven games, and after at one point looking like a surprise minor premiership in 1953 collapsed to never win more than six in a season from 1954 to 1959. Between 1952 and 1959 Canterbury were second last on five occasions (only Parramatta denying them the wooden spoon in four cases) but in 1960 under the coaching of club legend Burns they made the semis in an unparalleled four-way play-off. However their finals campaign only lasted one match a they lost to Easts 16–9 in the second semi-final. In the following seasons, they slipped back down the ladder quickly: after beating Easts on 6 July 1963 they did not win again until 25 July 1964. However, the emergence of skilful fullback Les Johns gave them hope, and despite finishing third last in 1966, the next year they made the Grand Final.

1967, the “intercept” Grand Final

In 1967 Canterbury were captain-coached by tough forward Kevin Ryan, who had joined them from St George and helped them break his former club’s extraordinary run of eleven straight premierships by beating them 12-11 in the preliminary final after being down 9-0 early on. Prior to this, Canterbury had finished third in the regular season, three points behind South Sydney and four behind minor premiers St George. Their semi-final campaign started well, beating Easts 13-2, before victory over the Dragons. They lost to Souths in the premiership decider, in a match best remembered for Bob McCarthy’s intercept try. The match had been a close one, with Souths leading 10-8 at half time, before Canterbury drew level for much of the second half. Souths gained the lead four minutes from full-time with an Eric Simms goal following a penalty for an incorrect scrum feed by Canterbury half Ross Kidd. For the losers, fullback Les Johns, second-rower Kevin Goldspink and centre Bob Hagan all stood out.

Reformation and rebuilding years

The following few years saw mixed fortunes for the club on the field, with a sudden decline in 1968 and 1969 followed by a semi-final berth in 1970 (though they immediately bowed out by losing 12-7 to St George) and a return to mid-table in 1971 and 1972. However, off the field the club was developing administrative strength that would restore it to the status of a “power” for the following thirty years.

Canterbury made the semis again in 1973, coming fifth in the first year the competition had a final five rather than four. Though they lost to Newtown, this heralded better times as the club made the semis every year for the rest of the decade, apart from 1977 when the team was heavily hit by injuries.

1974 proved more promising, as the club finished third on the ladder behind a runaway Roosters outfit coached by Jack Gibson, and Manly. They then defeated both clubs - Manly 20-14 and Easts 19-17 to be the first through to the Grand Final. However, missed opportunities in an initially tight game lead to a 19-4 defeat. This had been the first Premiership decider Canterbury had played in since 1947.

The Entertainers

Peter “Bullfrog” Moore was the top administrator at the Canterbury Bulldogs from 1970 to 1995. During this time the Bulldogs climbed to the very top of the game. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the Bulldogs under coach Ted Glossop who came to the club in 1978 played an exciting and skilful brand of football that got them named The Entertainers. With brilliant halfback Steve Mortimer the linchpin, the Bulldogs as they were to be named in 1978 played a brand of football that was the envy of the Sydney Premiership.

The arrival of youngster Steve Mortimer and veteran Bob McCarthy in 1976 signalled a new beginning at the Bulldogs. McCarthy only had two seasons at Canterbury but his experience, knowledge and effect left a lasting impression with a new generation of forwards coming through the ranks, which included Steve Folkes, Graeme Hughes and Geoff Robinson.

Hints of future heroics came in 1976, Canterbury scraped into the final five, finishing fifth, then beat Easts and St George before losing to Manly 15-12 at the last hurdle before the Grand Final, a Bob Fulton field goal breaking hearts late in the match.

The Bulldogs started off with promise but missed the semis in 1977, losing four out of their last five regular season matches and finishing seventh. They then scraped into fifth position again for 1978, but were the first team out of the playoffs losing 22-15 to Parramatta.

They came fifth for a third time in four years in 1979, with the following four weeks of Finals in 1979 proving to be a turning point for the club and the beginning of their great success in the 1980s. Inspired by Mortimer and led by Test captain George Peponis, the Bulldogs disposed of Cronulla, Wests and Parramatta to make the Finals with some of Mortimer's tries leaving the public in awe of his genius. St George won the Grand Final 17-13 with the Bulldogs staging a great second half comeback after being down 17-2 at the break.

The 1980 season was a watershed year for the Bulldogs and they would win their first Premiership since 1942. Canterbury played consistent football all season to finish in a tie for top position with Eastern Suburbs having the superior for and against. The Bulldogs defeated Wests and Easts to make it through to the Grand Final having the week off. The Roosters were favoured to win the decider but the unheralded Bulldogs pack outmuscled the Roosters pack with Steve Mortimer doing the rest. Mortimer completely outplayed opposing half Kevin Hastings with the Bulldogs winning 18-4. Chris Anderson scored the Bulldogs first try but the Grand Final will always be remembered for Steve Gearin’s performance where he landed six goals from six attempts and scored one of the all-time greatest tries in Grand Final history. Gearin chased through a bomb by fullback Greg Brentnall 40 m out and caught the ball in mid-air despite the best attempts from Hastings and David Michael to prevent the try. The Grand Final was also famous for the three Mortimer and three Hughes brothers playing in the clash.

As premiers, the Bulldogs did not buy significantly in the following couple of years and paid the penalty. Crippled with injuries they fell to tenth in 1981, and in 1982 stood ninth among 14 clubs in a newly expanded competition. Despite finishing third in 1983, the gap between Parramatta and Manly and the rest of the Premiership was massive. The style of football that worked for Canterbury in 1979-80 was now outdated with the club looking in a new direction. Warren Ryan would be appointed coach and the Bulldogs would quickly go from the Entertainers to the Enforcers in very quick time.


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. Some of the major signings by Ryan and Chief Executive Peter Moore included 1983 Dally M Player of the Year Terry Lamb and Brian Battese from Wests, Queensland forward Darryl Brohman, hooker Mark Bugden, Phil Gould and Peter Kelly from Newtown, and prop Peter Tunks from Souths. The Bulldogs went from the "Entertainers" to the "Enforcers". Young fullback Mick Potter's form led to him becoming 1984 Dally M Player of the Year. The club finished the season as minor premiers four points in front of rivals St George and Parramatta. They beat the Eels in the Major semi-final 16-8 before marking their fiftieth season by beating them again for the 1984 Premiership. However, it did not come without controversy. Ryan would drop long serving veterans Garry Hughes and club captain Chris Anderson to Reserve Grade. The Bulldogs were to become very successful using a new aggressive, defensively oriented way of playing, that was later named by some as “Wozzaball”. The brand of football worked with Canterbury nullifying the attacking football of Parramatta to win the decider 6-4 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Bulldogs started the next year patchily but won their last seen matches to lie third on the ladder at the end of the regular season behind minor premiers St George and Balmain. They accounted for Balmain 14-8 before being beaten by the Dragons 17-6. Then they comprehensively beat Parramatta 28-0 before making it back-to-back titles when they defeated St. George 7-6 in the Grand Final. Led by captain Steve Mortimer, the Bulldogs constantly bombed St. George, which forced a rule change in the catching of the ball in the in goal area.[citation needed]

Finishing third in the regular season behind Parramatta and a rejuvenated Souths, the Bulldogs could not follow up with a hat-trick of titles losing the 1986 Grand Final 4-2 to the Eels in a classic game of football. No tries were scored as both sides tackled as their lives depended on it.

Ryan's era at Canterbury ended after the 1987 season when he left the club on bad terms despite the success that came the Bulldogs way. He is the only Canterbury coach to win two Premierships and when the Bulldogs named their greatest side in 2004, no coach was named, which many believe should have been Ryan. Others believed that Ryan was simply a professional coach rather than a “true” Bulldog and the choice of Moore as Manager of the greatest ever side was more appropriate.

Phil Gould succeeded Ryan as coach and in his first year was in charge as the Bulldogs won the 1988 Grand Final against the Ryan-coached Balmain Tigers 24-12, the first at the new Sydney Football Stadium. It was a great and consistent season following the disappointment in 1987. 1988 also marked the final season for Canterbury legend Steve Mortimer, who stood down as captain after Round 4. Mortimer suffered a broken wrist in the second last round but was fit enough to play off the bench in the Grand Final victory. Mortimer retired with a club record 267 first grade games next to his name and at the time the most first grade games for one individual club. Mortimer captained the club the Premiership success in 1984 and 1985 and was a member of the 1980 and 1988 triumphs. He captained New South Wales in three State of Origin matches, winning all of them, giving the Blues their first triumph in 1985.

Chris Anderson Era

The “Wozzaball” era came to an end in 1989 when the Bulldogs struggled and Gould left the club to join Penrith Panthers. Chris Anderson returned as coach for the 1990 season and cleaned out the Ryan era, building the club around another club great in Terry Lamb.

Anderson had left the Bulldogs in 1984 and played the remaining years of his career with Halifax RLFC where he was captain-coach. Anderson intended to return to Canterbury but his commitments with Halifax in 1987-88 meant he could not take on the coaching position until 1989. Phil Gould's success in 1988 saw Anderson take on the Under 21's position in 1989 and he was promoted to first grade, which saw Gould leave on bad terms and join the Penrith Panthers.

One of Anderson’s first jobs as first grade coach was appoint Terry Lamb as captain ahead of Paul Langmack. This caused some controversy at the time. Anderson was in the first stages of cleaning out the “Wozzaball” era and built his team around Lamb. Warren Ryan, now coaching Western Suburbs, would snare four former Canterbury players Langmack, Andrew Farrar, David Gillespie and Joe Thomas whilst Paul Dunn followed Gould to Penrith Panthers and Jason Alchin joined St. George Dragons.

The Bulldogs enjoyed encouraging results in 1991 led by Lamb with support from 1991 Rothmans Medal winner Ewan McGrady and "the Welsh Wizard" Jonathan Davies with youngsters such as Darren Smith, Jarrod McCracken, Dean Pay and Simon Gillies coming through the ranks. The Bulldogs were inconsistent in 1992 and Peter Bullfrog Moore went on a recruitment drive snaring Martin Bella, Jim Dymock, Jim Serdaris and Gary Connolly. Canterbury won the Minor Premiership with Lamb leading the way but they fell short in the Finals losing to St. George Dragons and Brisbane Broncos.

Goal kicking wizard Daryl Halligan joined the Bulldogs in 1994 and he booted a then club record of 270 points including the match-winning drop goal in the 1994 Major Semi-Final against Canberra Raiders at the Sydney Football Stadium. Darren Britt and Jason Smith emerged as leading players. Canberra were far too good on Grand Final day winning 36-12 with Mal Meninga enjoying a great exit from the game.

Canterbury were confident heading into the 1995 season with a new home at Parramatta Stadium but the uproar of the Super League War caused Jim Dymock, Dean Pay, Jason Smith, and Jarrod McCracken to announce mid-season they were to leave the club. Their form before Super League was patchy and it was to get worse with demoralising losses against Manly 26-0, 19th place Parramatta, Newcastle 42-0 and Auckland 29-8 putting the season in doubt. Two major turning points was the switch of the final round match against North Queensland Cowboys to Belmore Sports Ground and Chris Anderson dropping Kiwi International Jarrod McCracken to reserve grade. Anderson would later omit McCracken from the overall squad. The Bulldogs walloped the Cowboys in a club record 66-4 victory and laid the platform for the Finals ahead.

The Bulldogs defeated the St. George Dragons 12-8, the Brisbane Broncos 24-10, and the 1994 Premiers Canberra Raiders 25-6. The Grand Final saw them up against the ARL's pin-up club Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in an ultimate Super League-ARL match. The Bulldogs were never headed winning 17-4 with Lamb leading the way in an inspirational (and controversial) performance. One of the tryscorers that day for Canterbury was future club captain, Steve Price, who was starting in only his 3rd first grade match.

The Anderson-Lamb coach-captain era at the Bulldogs lasted six seasons and they worked on a very successful rebuilding programme. Lamb announced his retirement after the Grand Final but would play on for another year in 1996 to help the sudden loss of players due to the ARL departures. Lamb however decided not to stand for the leadership leaving it for Simon Gillies. When Gillies was injured, Lamb again opted not to be captain with Darren Britt taking control for the final nine matches. Lamb’s six seasons as Canterbury captain saw the club rebuild and emerge back again as a force following the great 1980s era and Lamb in 2004 would be named captain in Canterbury’s ‘Greatest Ever Team’. Lamb in his six seasons as captain led from the front and was one of the most {{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Weasel-inline |date=__DATE__ |$B= [weasel words] }} inspirational leaders in the game.

Another era ended following the 1995 season with the retirement of Chief Executive Peter Moore after 26 years in power. Moore came into power in 1969 with the backing of captain-coach Kevin Ryan and brought in a complete reformation of the Bulldogs club, which saw it emerge as a competitive force in the 1970s and a rugby league powerhouse in the 1980s. Moore took on a position as Super League recruitment officer and he would retain his position on the Canterbury Leagues Club board until 1998. He was first diagnosed with cancer in 1998 and beat the first round but it returned in 2000 and lost his battle for life on 5 July. Moore’s record at Canterbury was five Premierships and nine Grand Finals in 26 seasons.

Super League War

When the Canterbury administration saw the Super League war on the horizon they re-branded the club the "Sydney Bulldogs". The Bulldogs were one of the clubs most damaged by the big split in Australian rugby league and lost five key players for the 1996 season with Dean Pay, Jason Smith, Jim Dymock and Jarrod McCracken joining arch-rivals Parramatta Eels and Brett Dallas linking with North Sydney Bears. The Bulldogs were a shadow of their three previous seasons in 1996 and scrambled to finish 10th in the ARL Premiership.

The 1997 season saw Canterbury play in the Super League competition and was the first without club legend Terry Lamb who finally hung up the boots after 349 first grade matches. The Bulldogs finished in fifth position in the ten-team competition. Chris Anderson quit the club at the end of the 1997 after a lifetime of service as a player and coach. Anderson joined the newly formed Melbourne Storm with reserve grade coach Steve Folkes taking over the head coaching position.

Super League and the ARL compromised at the end of 1997 and formed the National Rugby League, which saw Canterbury playing arch-rivals Parramatta Eels, St. George Dragons and Western Suburbs Magpies once again.

The Bulldogs struggled in 1998 as the effects from the Super League War and the retirement of Terry Lamb were still being felt. Simon Gillies was replaced mid-season as captain by Darren Britt and that sparked a Bulldogs revival. Canterbury won their last four matches to scrape into ninth position as the National Rugby League that season used a “Top 10” Finals format.

Just prior to the Finals, it was revealed that former Chief Executive Peter Moore was diagnosed with cancer. The Bulldogs lifted to new levels as an inspiration to 'Bullfrog' and in the first two weeks of the Finals defeated St. George Dragons 20-12 (ultimately their last match as a stand-alone club) and North Sydney Bears 23-12, both victories on away soil. The followed week without Craig Polla-Mounter the Bulldogs came from 16-0 down to defeat the Andrew Johns Newcastle Knights 28-16 with the scores locked at 16-all at full-time.

The most famous[citation needed] semi-final came the next week against arch-rivals Parramatta Eels with Pay, Dymock, Smith and McCracken in their line up. The Eels led 18-2 with 11 minutes remaining before Craig Polla-Mounter inspired a comeback. Canterbury scored three tries in the space of seven minutes to bring it back to 18-16 with Daryl Halligan landing a sideline goal to level up the scores before Polla-Mounter nearly snatched a win in regular time with a heart-stopping field goal just falling under the cross-bar. The Bulldogs got a 32-20 victory.

Brisbane Broncos won the Grand Final 38-12 (after leading 12-10 at half time). The Super League War was now forgotten in a short space of time as they forged into a new era under the guidance of coach Steve Folkes.

The 1998 season also marked the farewell to Belmore Sports Ground as the Bulldogs home ground. The decision to leave Belmore upset many of the Bulldogs' loyal supporters as the ground had so much history to it.[citation needed] Belmore was Canterbury's home for 547 matches between 1936–98 and they had a great record on home soil. Belmore was also the home ground for the Parramatta Eels between 1982-85 as their new stadium was being built and St. George Dragons played at Belmore in 1988. Only the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney Sports Ground and North Sydney Oval have hosted more Premiership games than Belmore Sports Ground. Overall, Belmore hosted 602 Premiership games.

Despite opposition from many supporters, Canterbury moved to Telstra Stadium for the 1999 season and finished the Premiership rounds in fifth position with confidence gained from the Finals success in 1998 and signing new recruits Darren Smith, Bradley Clyde and Ricky Stuart. The Bulldogs were defeated in the second week of the Finals with Melbourne Storm's Matt Geyer swooping on a Stuart kick to seal victory in the dying minutes of the game.

In 1998 the Bulldogs won the President's Cup competition.

The Salary Cap

The Bulldogs fallout from a disappointing 2000 season saw a "new breed" of players coming through for 2001. The Bulldogs' outfit aged badly in 2000 with many players past their best and a massive cleanout happened with several new players on the way including Nigel Vagana, Luke Patten, Brett Howland and Darrell Trindall. The Bulldogs finished the Minor Premiership in second position but crashed out of the Finals. The Dally M Rookie of the Year that season was Braith Anasta. Mark O'Meley was signed up for the 2002 season as the club said farewell to captain Darren Britt and his deputy Craig Polla-Mounter. With both of those gone, Steve Folkes opted for Steve Price as captain ahead of the more experienced Darren Smith.

Trouble 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 club received a $500,000 fine, and was stripped of all 37 competition points; the club, who were poised to take the Minor Premiership and had won 17 consecutive matches, won the wooden spoon as a result.

Club legend Steve Mortimer was brought in to save the Club, and the Bulldogs then finished one game short of the Grand Final in 2003.

2004 Premiers

The Bulldogs endured a nightmare start to the season, but a string of good results culminated in defeating the Sydney Roosters 16-13 in the Grand Final. The Bulldogs season started slowly but they worked their way into being genuine Premiership contenders, which included big wins against the Sydney Roosters, Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos to finish the regular season on equal standing with eventual runners-up the Roosters, however due to points differential the Bulldogs were deemed to have finished second.

Finals newcomers North Queensland Cowboys upset the Bulldogs 30-22 in the first week of the Finals. The Bulldogs powered past the Melbourne Storm 43-18 in the second week of the Finals. Three tries and five goals from Hazem El Masri saw the Bulldogs topple 2003 Premiers Penrith Panthers 30-14 in the Preliminary Final.

The Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters was always going to be a tense battle with neither club having much affection for the other. The Bulldogs came from 13-6 down at halftime to triumph 16-13. This victory saw desperate Bulldogs defence absorb much punishment and keep the Roosters scoreless for the entire second half. It was a sweet result for the Bulldogs after enduring a number of nightmare seasons on and off the field. It showed the great character in the club and the values that can't be bought or manufactured. To defeat the Roosters made it even sweeter considering the rivalry and backgrounds of both clubs. Matt Utai scored two tries with Hazem El Masri also scoring. Willie Mason was named Clive Churchill Medal Winner. Stand-in captain Andrew Ryan, who ultimately make the winning tackle, stopping Roosters forward Michael Crocker from scoring the final seconds of the match.

Warriors-bound club captain Steve Price missed the game due to injury sustained the week before in the semi-final victory against Penrith Panthers. Price's value and respect in the team was noticeable on Grand Final night when Ryan called up Price to hold the trophy and say a few words, whilst Johnathan Thurston gave Price his Grand Final ring.

Following their Grand Final victory, the bulldogs traveled to England to play in the 2005 World Club Challenge against Super League premiers, the Leeds Rhinos. The match was played on 4 February 2005 at Elland Road in front of 37,208 with the home team coming out winners in the end of a high-scoring match, with a final scoreline of 39-32.

Past decade

The Bulldogs were unable to mount a serious defence of the title in 2005 as injuries and contract negotiations saw the year start and finish on a sour note for the club. Due to the extent of injuries suffered, the team at times was unable to be at full-strength. This took its toll in the final six weeks of the season, the club suffering heavy losses and missing the finals series.

In 2006, little was expected from the club after a lacklustre 2005 season, but despite some doubt over the strength of their side, the Bulldogs' impressive forward pack helped them to a better than expected result for the year, finishing just a game short of the Grand Final, in which they lost to eventual premiers the Brisbane Broncos.

The 2008 season was a tumultuous one for the Bulldogs. They finished at the bottom of the ladder, but the main news of the season was the controversial departure of star player Sonny Bill Williams.

A huge player recruitment drive saw the Bulldogs reverse their fortunes in the 2009 NRL season.

Alan Thompson, a long-time supporter of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, was appointed general manager of the club's football operations on 15 April 2010.[9]

Sponsorship History

Year Jersey Manufacturer Major Sponsor Sleeve Sponsor Shorts Sponsor
1980-81 Classic Electronic Sales & Rentals
1982 Classic Joyce Mayne Discounts
1983 Classic General Corporation Japan (Aust.) (Fujitsu General (Aust.) )
1984-90 Classic HFC Financial Services
1991 Classic HFC Financial Services Mobil
1992 Classic HFC Financial Services
1993-96 Classic Hyundai Cenovis
1997 Nike Canterbury League Club Cenovis
1998-99 Nike Stardome Cenovis
2000 Nike realestate.com.au Cenovis
2001-02 Nike National Telecoms Group ADCO Constructions
2003 Nike Mitsubishi Electric ADCO Constructions
2004-05 Nike Mitsubishi Electric Auto Group Motor Auctions Yes Home Loans
2006 Nike Mitsubishi Electric Q.L.D. Group Bill Express
2007 Nike Mitsubishi Electric Bankstown Sports Club Bill Express

'Yes Home Loans' shifted their sponsorship to 'back of jersey' in 2006 and onward in a new move allowed by NRL regulations.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lester, Gary; From Berries to Bulldogs: Fifty Years of the Cantberury-Bankstown R.L.F.C.; pp. 11-13 ISBN 9780949853066
  2. "New First Grade League Club: Canterbury-Bankstown Elevated in Sydney". Sydney Morning Herald. 27 September 1934. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/136116132?searchTerm=%22Canterbury-Bankstown%22%20league&searchLimits=l-state=New+South+Wales. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  3. Rugby League Tables: Biggest Wins
  4. Rugby League Tables: Season Records
  5. Lester; From Berries to Bulldogs; p. 22
  6. Lester; From Berries to Bulldogs; p. 42
  7. Lester; From Berries to Bulldogs; p. 49
  8. Vic Hey: Coaching Summary
  9. AFP (2010-04-15). "Swimming coach switches to rugby league". Times Live (AVUSA, Inc.). http://www.timeslive.co.za/sport/other/article404879.ece/Swimming-coach-switches-to-rugby-league. Retrieved 2010-04-15.


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External links