Thirty lost Dogs that fled The Kennel
For years, Canterbury have been getting their retention and recruitment horribly wrong. What's worse, it doesn't look to be getting any better.
Here's a squad of 30 players let go in recent years now lining up with NRL rivals.
Let's start with Moses Mbye, who will run out against his former club as Wests Tigers fullback and captain at Campbelltown this Sunday.
On the wings, you have Brett Morris and Corey Thompson.
Centres Josh Morris and Tim Lafai.
Josh Reynolds five-eighth, Aidan Sezer half.
Throw David Klemmer and James Graham into the front row, and that still leaves Aaron Woods, Lachlan Barr, Herman Ese'ese, James Gavet and Leilana Latu fighting for bench spots.
Damien Cook would be hooker, with Parramatta's exciting youngster Reed Mahoney back-up.
Shaun Lane and Marty Taupau make a handy back-row, with Dale Finucane at lock.
Brenko Lee also spent time at the Bulldogs.
Others include Blake Green, Brad Abbey, Craig Garvey, Frank Winterstein, Lloyd Perrett, Trent Hodkinson, Tyrone Phillips, Adam Keighran, Richie Kenner and Bailey Simonsson.
I know there is no way the Bulldogs could or should have kept them all, and a lot of these decisions were made under Des Hasler's watch.
But let's isolate the five that left last year under the current administration: Mbye, the Morris twins, Klemmer and Woods are all Origin-class players.
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As Wayne Bennett once told me, the best advice he took in his early days from Don Furner at Canberra was that you don't let players go unless you have better ones to replace them.
I also would love to have a look at who is getting paid what now, especially with the new players brought to the club, because I am growing sick of the excuses regurgitated that this was all Hasler's doing.
In fairness to Hasler, he wasn't given the chance to see through his plan, and he did make two grand finals in six years before he was punted to make way for Dean Pay.
If you remember correctly, the reason Hasler was sacked was not because of the salary cap situation, but because people within the club didn't like the style of football the Dogs were playing under Des.
Apparently, they'd lost their "DNA".
So Pay was brought back on the promise of a return to the famous "Dogs of War" culture.
While the new administration didn't sign Pay, they were talking of a contract extension before this season.
Could anyone really say with a straight face the Dogs are playing a better brand of footy now?
And just as some of Hasler's decisions were questionable, why would Canterbury let the Morris boys go when they both signed for unders at rival clubs?
You only have to listen to Brett Morris talk about how he felt treated to understand there was more to it than money.
And the story goes Klemmer wanted out because of family reasons.
Do you reckon Bennett or Craig Bellamy would have let Klemmer walk?
They would have found a way to make the star prop happy. Sydney is a big place.
And we saw what Bennett's reaction was earlier this year when Parramatta came sniffing around George Burgess with a lucrative offer.
Bennett told them to bugger off.
I just don't buy there wasn't more behind Klemmer's reason for wanting out. And Dylan Napa certainly wouldn't have come cheap.
Last year the club told us of all the players that were on the market, only Klemmer and Josh Jackson were not for sale.
Now Klemmer is killing it at Newcastle, while Jackson is left playing one-man-out, trying to lead the youngest NRL roster out of this mess.
And back to Mbye, who was reportedly told if he stayed he would be playing centre in 2019.
That came after one of the first decisions Pay made as coach was moving Mbye from the halves to fullback.
I still remember the first time I met Mbye during preseason in 2011.
Canterbury had hired a double-decker bus and filled it with players, staff and members of the media for a ride into the centre of Sydney to rally memberships.
Back then big Jamal Idris was the man all the supporters wanted a piece of.
But what I remember most about that day was how this young bloke who had travelled down from Noosa to kick off his rugby league career came over and plonked himself on the seat beside me.
Mbye was only 17 yet he whipped up a conversation that lasted pretty much the entire trip, and he was fascinating.
I'd been told he had a stack of football potential, but what was most impressive was his personality.
You just knew the kid was a born leader.
But the problem for the Bulldogs is that by the time Mbye was ready to take on such a role, the club flicked him.
Yet Michael Maguire, a premiership winning coach, saw enough in Mbye in three months that he made Mbye his captain, ahead of other senior leaders like Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Chris Lawrence and Russell Packer.
Worse still, the Bulldogs reportedly still pay a chunk of Mbye's salary.
So again, what does this tell you about Canterbury's current retention strategy?
It makes no sense.
And I really feel for the players in all this.
You can see they are giving their absolute all but they just don't have the experience to match their opposition.
This week Pay made a stack of changes, and it was almost sold as if it was these young players who had dropped the ball.
But at what point does the current administration take responsibility for the direction the club is now heading in?
Surely they can't keep blaming Des forever.
1. Moses Mbye 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Tim Lafai 5. Corey Thompson 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Aidan Sezer 8. David Klemmer 9. Damien Cook 10. James Graham 11. Shaun Lane 12. Marty Taupau 13. Dale Finucane 14. Aaron Woods 15. Brenko Lee 16. Lachlan Burr
17. Herman Ese'ese 18. James Gavet 19. Reed Mahoney 20. Leilani Latu
Others: Blake Green, Bradley Abbey, Craig Garvey, Frank Winterstein, Lloyd Perrett, Trent Hodkinson, Tyrone Phillips, Adam Keighran, Richard Kennar, Bailey Simonsson