Long-suffering Canterbury Bulldogs fans believe the nearly two-decade long premiership drought is almost over, according to a wild trend that has taken NRL social media by storm.
The Bulldogs had yet another horror season, finishing in 15th place on the NRL ladder with just seven wins and sporting the NRL’s worst defence and second worst attack in 2023.
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The Bulldogs had a horror end to the season, winning just one of their last seven and two of their matches after round 12 and extending their finals drought another year, having last featured in the playoffs in 2016.
It also didn’t help that the club was embroiled in ugly accusations late in the season where first-year coach Cameron Ciraldo was slammed for his training practices after a player walked away from the club after a wrestling punishment dragged the club into the spotlight.
When you’re losing, everything becomes harder.
But despite the club’s dire position, the fans have some hope thanks to history.
The Bulldogs club has been around since 1935 but what interests fans most is the record since 1974.
In that season, the Dogs lost the grand final 19-4 to Eastern Suburbs.
A decade later in 1984, the club won its fourth premiership 6-4 over the Eels.
In 1994, Canberra beat the Bulldogs 36-12 in the grand final.
The Bulldogs’ last premiership victory was in 2004, a 16-13 win over the Roosters.
In 2014, the Dogs lost 30-6 against the Rabbitohs.
See where we’re going with this?
Since 1974, the club as gone L, W (1984), L (1994), W (2004) and L (2014), meaning the club is due for another W in 2024.
Interestingly, it was the Bulldogs that ended the last three-peat when the ended the Eels reign of premierships in 1981, 1982 and 1983 with a win in 1984.
Could history repeat itself again?
A TikTok user who goes by Trademark Sports added that in 2003, the Dogs won the Jersey Flegg competition, then won first grade in 2004.
In 2023, the Jersey Flegg champions were the Canterbury Bulldogs after a 22-20 win over the Sydney Roosters.
However, he himself said it was unlikely after the Bulldogs’ horror season in 2023 despite bringing in the likes of Viliame Kikau and Reed Mahoney.
“Doggies fans, you’re not winning the premiership next year,” he said.
With Panthers premiership winner Stephen Crichton coming to the side along with Rabbitohs utility Blake Taaffe, ex-Sharks centre Bronson Xerri after his two year drug ban and Panthers utility Jaeman Salmon, the club hasn’t added too many different pieces to unlock its premiership puzzle.
However, this video is far from the only one on TikTok and it hasn’t stopped fans from jumping on the bandwagon.
For the record, as of October 6 2023, the Bulldogs are $46 to win the 2024 premiership.
Although most of the posts appear to have their tongue firmly planted in their cheeks, fans buying in must remember the old football adage — it’s the hope that kills you.
While the Bulldogs current have the former Panthers mastermind who helped deliver the club’s three straight premierships in Phil Gould as their GM of football, even the league legend believes fans will have to be patient.
Speaking in July, Gould said the club was aiming for sustained success, and that takes time.
“It’s a difficult question, but I just know that we can’t cut corners on the process because as soon as you do, you put yourself further behind and it hurts you in the long term,” Gould said after the Dogs’ 66-0 loss to the Knights in round 18.
“If you go out and try to look for quick fixes, then it never works that way and you’re pushing the problem further down the track.
“Someone has to come in and make the tough decisions and realise this is going to be tough for a while. I wish someone had done this six or seven years ago. If they had, then we wouldn’t be in this position today.
“My aim is that they’re not in this position in five or six years’ time.”