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“These were all targeted signings”: Ciraldo explains Bulldogs’ recruitment strategy


The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have been the most active NRL team during the off-season with 10 noteworthy signings ahead of the 2024 season.

The Bulldogs finished 15th in 2023 in what was an incredibly disappointing season which started positively but fell dramatically at the back-end.

The Bulldogs have recruited several utility players which Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo said was a deliberate move by the club on a needs basis.

“It’s a big change but these were all targeted signings for what we needed,” Ciraldo told SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“We went through some times last year where our depth was really tested.

“Kurt Mann is a genuine utility and he is one of the best in the game. We brought him for that specifically.

“Jaeman Salmon we have signed as back-rower and he has really developed in that role during his time at Penrith. He does fill in at five-eighth from time to time.

“Connor Tracey has utility value because he has had to force a number of positions at the Sharks but he’s a fullback and centre utility in my eyes.

“Drew Hutchison has come in from the Roosters and he has done a good job over the years.

“He is another guy looking for an opportunity at halfback.

“We have a long way to go before we figure out (who is in the 17) but the thing I’m happy about is that we’ve got plenty of competition for spots.

“The team will sort itself out and the guys that train and play the best in the trials will get their opportunities.

“The training has gone up with those 10 recruits and what they’ve brought in.

“There’s really healthy competition.”

The biggest signing of the Bulldogs’ 10 new recruits is Stephen Crichton who after 100 first grade games, brings a wealth of experience at club, state and international level.

Ciraldo said he is incredibly excited to see what Crichton brings to the team when he begins training on Wednesday.

“He’s not meant to start until January 8 with his time off but he said he wants to get started early and get around the boys,” Ciraldo said of Crichton.

“It’s great signs for what Stephen will bring to our program with the leadership and energy that he brings.

“He’s definitely the best defensive centre in the world but I know what he can bring at fullback as well.

“I loved that he played five-eighth for Samoa over the break as well.

“He’s just a world-class player and we are excited to have him on board.”

The Bulldogs face off against the Parramatta Eels in their opening round match of the 2024 season on March 9.

Sports-News Rugby League Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

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