New Dogs, new tricks: Kennel cleanout has Belmore boys eyeing finals

'Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue... and white’.

In 2023, the Bulldogs will put a rugby league spin on a well-worn rhyme that signifies the simultaneous hope for continuity and a fresh beginning, eager to be part of the finals festivities after six years on the outside looking in.

After a grand final appearance in 2014 and two more trips to the play-offs in 2015-16, Canterbury have finished no better than 11th in the ensuing six campaigns, even suffering the ignominy of a wooden spoon in 2021 in Trent Barrett’s first year at the helm.

Three wins was all the Bulldogs had to show for a disastrous season that opened with a 32-16 loss to the Knights before three excruciating weeks where they failed to score a point, belted by the Panthers (0-28), Broncos (0-24) and Rabbitohs (0-38).

Just two years later, the Bulldogs head into 2023 with a roster barely recognisable from the dark days of 2021, as well as a new coach in former Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo.

They have three new captains as part of a six-man leadership group, eight recruits including two who squared off in last year's grand final, and one clear focus - to return to the club to its glory days.

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Martin Lenehan - NRL Senior Journalist