BY CURTIS WOODWARD
A few people on social media recently asked whether this Canterbury team could beat the 2008 wooden spoon Bulldogs in a fantasy battle for the ages.
The short answer is no.
These Bulldogs are that bad.
Des Hasler’s 2017 squad get uglier on a weekly basis. They may not be the worst Bulldogs team in history but they must be the most boring.
They created new ways to frustrate their fans on Thursday night against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium.
This side couldn’t knock a pea off a chop.
Unfortunately the team that most deserves the spoon this year won’t in fact receive it.
But back to the 2017 versus 2008 debate.
Who really thinks these Dogs – with their morbidly inadequate offense could worry anyone let alone the ‘08 version?
You can picture the Bulldogs at training nine years ago with Steve Folkes bringing the players into a huddle.
“Alright boys,” Folkes would begin.
“This is going to sound crazy but we will be running an opposed session today against a team from the future. We’re playing the Bulldogs from 2017.”
The players immediately freak out. How much bigger are they in the future? How much quicker? Smarter? That’s not fair!
But then Hasler leads his time travellers down the tunnel and onto Belmore. The session begins.
Andrew Ryan, Luke Patten, Willie Tonga, Hazem El Masri and others are baffled in their defensive line.
Is this it?
Then Canterbury ‘08 get the ball.
I feel very sorry for @NRL_Bulldogs fans. At the moment their games must feel like going to the dentist for root canal work every week.— Andrew Voss (@AndrewVossy) August 10, 2017
The guy who put 10k on the Bulldogs with +4.5 start is the worst punter of all time. It's done. Applications are closed. #nrl— Jon Tuxworth (@Tuxy81) August 10, 2017
They rip them to shreds.
The ‘08 Dogs would win by 20.
This year Canterbury has scored 278 points to date. In 2008 they amassed 433.
A blind man with a pretzel could win a shootout against these current Bulldogs.
Now before you say that 2017 is a tougher competition – it isn’t. It’s just a different competition.
It’s going to get worse too as it seems favourite son Josh Reynolds has played his last game for the club after injuring his calf on Thursday. Reynolds was a fledgling light for Canterbury in a dark time. At least he created some chances.
“He’s done a calf, he’ll be sent for the scans, calves don’t always have the happiest of endings,” Hasler said after the loss to Souths.
“It must’ve been pretty bad for Josh to come off the field.”
Local junior Reynolds is leaving, as too is Chief Executive Raelene Castle. Hasler is next.
With all this turmoil it also seems Chairman Ray Dib has more pressing matters.
Dib is hosting a lunch on Monday for NRL club power brokers at Canterbury Leagues Club to discuss the proposed salary cap next season.
Canterbury is one club that has overshot with their salary cap predictions for 2018 and are already in discussions with current players about their futures. They have also signed representative stars Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran from Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors respectively.
Their actions, along with at least eight other teams, fly in the face of other clubs who have been taking ongoing advice from the NRL.
St George Illawarra’s recruitment boss Ian Millward says clubs are under “specific instructions” from NRL Head Office.
“We’re under specific instructions from the NRL on what the salary cap is so we feel we’re in a really comfortable position,” Millward told dragons.com.au.
“All clubs are being communicated with on a regular basis and we’re complying with that.”
Another club compliant already for 2018 is the Newcastle Knights with Coach Nathan Brown urging the NRL not to bow to clubs who have pushed the boundaries on the projected $9.2 million cap.
Unsurprisingly both the Dragons and the Knights have not been invited to Dib’s pow wow.
“It is a catch-up with some of the executive of the various NSW-based membership owned clubs,” Dib told The Daily Telegraph.
“It is to find out where everyone is at. What their feelings are and the general conscious heading into next week’s meeting.”
The Bulldogs are in a dire place both on and off field.
With an imminent roster upheaval and almost certain coaching changes – who knows what they’ll look like in 2018.
The 2008 Doggies don’t look so bad after all.