Matt Dufty at Bulldogs, Transfer News, Updates, Trent Barrett, Matt Burton, Josh Addo-Carr, Contracts, Dragons
The Bulldogs may be entrenched at the bottom of the ladder, but one of the best ways to come back is to recruit effectively and the club’s latest investment has been approved.
Trent Barrett’s upheaval in the Bulldogs roster is expected to continue with the official announcement of signing official for Dragons back Matt Dufty on Sunday.
He will join Matt Burton, Josh Addo-Carr and Brent Naden as the club’s top signing for 2022.
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The Bulldogs are expected to line up with a completely overhauled five back to the one they missed in their final game of 2020 – a 42-0 loss to Penrith.
Reimis Smith, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Kerrod Holland are already gone while Jayden Okunbor and Will Hopoate futures are on hold, both out of contract at the end of the year.
A new Bulldogs’ baseline will offer a combination of speed and offensive flair, with Dufty a chance to play back with Nick Cotric and Addo-Carr on the wing.
He could also be a save option, although if Addo-Carr is happy to stay on the wing, the inclusion of Dufty will only add more hitting to the baseline.
“It would be (that would be a good addition). The game lends itself to players with the X factor right now and it certainly has it, ”Barrett said of Dufty after Saturday’s loss to the Roosters.
Naden and Corey Allan then present themselves as the two likely options in centers, with Nick Meaney joining Melbourne at the end of the year.
Fox League’s James Hooper broke the news of a one-year contract for Dufty at Belmore during Saturday night’s coverage of the Bulldogs’ game against the Roosters.
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“Great news, great news for the Bulldogs,” said Yvonne Sampson.
“There was a huge improvement tonight for Trent Barrett and the Bulldogs, but next year they have Burton, Foxx, Dufty.”
Former Bulldog Braith Anasta praised the club’s approach to recruiting, saying it fits well with current rules.
“Points, points, points. Speed, speed, speed, ”he said of what the new backline will offer.
“This is what they need. This is where the game goes. The faster you are, the better off you are, especially with the rule of six.
“Burton is obviously the star, but if you can get some speed around the edges, Dufty and Foxx are lightning bolts in all the open spaces they get there. I just think of anyone of Dufty’s caliber for the Bulldogs that I’m happy with.
Cooper Cronk also said it was a “great pickup” for the Bulldogs, but found the length of the deal to be an intriguing question mark for the sequel.
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“The one-year deal is very interesting,” he said.
“I don’t know which side of the table it was coming from, whether it was the Dufty side or the Bulldogs side, but it will be interesting to see what the next move is from there, but for the next 12 months, it’s absolutely a good start. “
The Bulldogs’ roster is far from complete, but with question marks over Burton’s partner in the halves.
Jake Averillo presents himself as the most likely option, locked up until 2023 and with a running game that could only get more deadly alongside Burton who can handle most of the kicking.
Kyle Flanagan is also on the club’s books for the same time as Averillo, although his side ax on Saturday night raised more questions about his future at the club.
Lachlan Lewis is out of contract at the end of 2021 but has made a strong statement against the Roosters as he fights for a new deal.
The Bulldogs could also resort to a high-quality hooker option, although outside of Brandon Smith the candidates are limited and he is expected to stay in Melbourne at least next year.
Jeremy Marshall-King was however recently extended until 2023, indicating he is part of the club’s future in hooker while Sione Katoa (out of contract at the end of this year) is not.
The Bulldogs have also been linked with Tevita Pangai Jr, who could provide much-needed spark and firepower.
Joe Stimson and Corey Waddell haven’t done enough to suggest they will be long-term starting options and when Raymond Faitala-Mariner returns it will leave a spot vacant.
Determining who fills that void, whether internally or externally, is the next critical decision for Barrett and the Bulldogs.