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NSW Cup 2022 Season Preview | Bulldogs

The NSWRL has cast its eye over the 12 teams who will take part in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup in 2022, with the opening round to kick off on Saturday 12 March. The state’s premier competition remains a valuable pathway for higher honours with 52 players going on last season to play in the NRL. Today, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

2021

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will re-join The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup competition after a year’s hiatus, with their last appearance coming in 2020 before the season was abandoned as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bulldogs have had incredible success in the NSW Cup competition since its inception in 1908, winning it on eight separate occasions, the last of which came just four years ago in 2018. That premiership-winning side included NRL players Morgan Harper, Jayden Okunbor, Greg Eastwood and Ofahiki Ogden, as well as current NSW Cup players Josh Bergamin and Zac Woolford.

Fast forward to 2022 and the Bulldogs NRL side will feed players through to both their NSW Cup squad and Mounties.

While the Bulldogs NRL side struggled in 2021, they have recruited well in the off-season which will no doubt have a positive impact on their NSW Cup side.

New faces such as Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Paul Vaughn, Matt Dufty and Tevita Pangai-Junior will have a knock-on effect into the NSW Cup where there is plenty of NRL experience on show in round one, including Aaron Schoupp, Isaac Lumelume, Brandon Wakeham, Kyle Flanagan, Jackson Topine and Joe Stimson.

The Short Side with Luke Lewis | Round One

This Season

In the NRL, the Bulldogs are widely regarded as a club on the rise after they brought plenty of talent in for 2022. After a few lean seasons, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Bulldogs fans and this will no doubt have a positive impact on their NSW Cup side.

One of the shining lights for both Mounties and the Bulldogs in 2021 was young centre Schoupp, who made his NRL debut in round 11. He was tipped to start in the centres for the NRL team in 2022 before coach Trent Barrett opted for new recruits Braidon Burns and Brent Naden.

Joining Schoupp in NSW Cup is halfback Flanagan. After joining the club in 2021, Flanagan has been in and out of first grade and made several appearances for Mounties last year. With Burton coming to the club, Flanagan was considered a front runner to join the premiership winner in the halves although Barrett has given Jake Averillo the nod to kick off their 2022 campaign.

While Flanagan is likely to play NRL at some point throughout the season, he will give the Bulldogs NSW Cup side plenty of experience and a strong kicking game. Joining Flanagan in the halves for round one will be Wakeham, whose strong running game compliments Flanagan nicely.

Players to Watch

The Bulldogs will field a relatively young squad in 2022, which according to coach David Tangata-Toa, was a key reason in bringing former Western Suburbs Magpies five-eighth Zach Dockar-Clay to the club.

“I actually coached Zach when I first started coaching out at Penrith, so I’ve known Zach for a while,” Tangata-Toa said.

“He was up there in Townsville when I was with the Cowboys so I know him quite well and once I knew we were having our own reserve grade team, I wanted someone who was more experienced, and I knew that he would be with me week-in-week out.

“I just wanted to have that stability around that spine and Zach was a perfect fit. As you know we’ve got a young squad so his experience at this level will be really valuable for us.”

Dockar-Clay finished the 2021 season with 14 games, four tries, seven try assists, six offloads and 72 running metres per game in a red hot Magpies side that was sitting in second place before the season was abandoned due to COVID-19.

Making his NSW Cup debut in round one is the Bulldogs 2021 Jersey Flegg Cup Player of the Year, Kurtis Morrin.

Kurtis Morrin 2021 Jersey Flegg Cup Highlights

A strong, aggressive ball runner with great leg drive, Morrin proved himself a leader amongst the Bulldogs Jersey Flegg Cup side with several impressive performances and tries that came off the back of a never say die attitude.

“Kurtis did a block of the pre-season with the NRL squad and he’s just come back from injury, so he’s only about a month back into training,” said Tangata-Toa.

“His best footy will be in about a month’s time when he gets some fitness under his belt but he’s definitely played really well in his own age group and I’m confident he can deliver those same results against an open age group.”

Morrin plays lock and will start on the bench in round one.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.