2008 Bulldogs RLFC season

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The 2008 Bulldogs RLFC season was the 74th in the club's history. They competed in the NRL's 2008 Telstra Premiership, finishing in last place.

Season summary[edit]

High-profile player departures and political infighting during the 2007-2008 off-season had led to predictions that the Bulldogs would have a difficult 2008, predictions which were borne out across the season. The club languished towards the bottom of the ladder throughout the year, suffering heavy losses against many teams, the most notable being a 46-0 loss to the Melbourne Storm, a 58-18 loss to the Canberra Raiders and a 56-4 loss against the Wests Tigers, breaking records. The key problems for the Bulldogs were poor defence and continuing injury problems, with usually 10 first grade players injured at a time, including season ending injuries to key players Luke Patten and Willie Tonga. After the club's 58-18 thrashing at the hands of the Raiders in Round 15, coach Steve Folkes admitted that the Bulldogs were "at the bottom of a fairly big hole with no way out of it in the short term".[1] Folkes' men would only win one more game in the entire season, and finished 2008 with the wooden spoon in what was Folkes' final year with the club. It was the Bulldogs' first deliberate wooden spoon since 1964, discounting 2002 when it breached the salary cap.

On the field the Bulldogs suffered a season of unrelenting disappointment, leading to just five wins for the entire season. Other than the record-breaking losses already mentioned above, the Bulldogs suffered its first loss against St. George Illawarra since 2003, and lost twice against the Sydney Roosters, Parramatta Eels (in the first meeting the Bulldogs had a 20-0 halftime lead but somehow lost 28-20), Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders throughout the course of the season. The loss to the Roosters in particular was made bittersweet notably because Willie Mason and Mark O'Meley were playing against the Bulldogs for the first time. The Bulldogs however did win two of their opening three matches against the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers, raising optimism amongst fans. The other three wins were against those that would make the finals: the Dragons in round six, the Sharks in round 11 and the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium in round 18. No more wins would follow for the season. Interestingly, the Bulldogs' highest score for the season in a single match was 34 when it lost for the second time to Canberra, 52-34. Their highest in a winning match was 32, when it defeated the Wests Tigers in round 3, by 32-12. Further souring the Bulldogs' season of shame, Sonny Bill Williams left the club without warning late in July to pursue a career in rugby union (read more below).

The team also faced off-field turbulence. Throughout May and June, there was heavy media coverage of star player Sonny Bill Williams' discontent with Bulldogs management and with his contract arrangements, and of his rumoured desire to leave the club to play rugby union or in the European Super League. After confirming that he would play out the remaining 4 years of his contract, Williams left the country without warning in late July to join French rugby union club RC Toulon, in what many rugby league fans regarded as an enormous betrayal. The Bulldogs commenced legal action against Williams for breach of contract, and eventually received substantial compensation for the walkout.

Match results[edit]

ANZ Stadium is a home ground of five NRL teams (the Bulldogs as well as South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wests Tigers, St George Illawarra Dragons and Parramatta Eels), and therefore the Bulldogs are not officially classified as the home team at every match they play there. ANZ Stadium matches at which the Bulldogs are classified as the home team are highlighted in bold.

Round Opponent Result Bulldogs Opponent Date Venue Crowd Position
Trial Match
St George Illawarra Dragons
Loss
30
40
23 February WIN Stadium
Trial Match
Penrith Panthers
Win
36
18
2 March ANZ Stadium
1
Parramatta Eels
Loss
20
28
15 March ANZ Stadium 25,065
10th
2
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Win
25
12
21 March ANZ Stadium 21,839
8th
3
Wests Tigers
Win
32
12
30 March ANZ Stadium 21,456
2nd
4
Sydney Roosters
Loss
20
40
4 April ANZ Stadium 36,526
8th
5
New Zealand Warriors
Loss
16
36
13 April Mt Smart Stadium 15,912
11th
6
St George Illawarra Dragons
Win
30
18
19 April ANZ Stadium 14,764
7
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Loss
22
30
26 April Brookvale Oval 15,229
8
Bye
9
Penrith Panthers
Loss
4
30
10 May ANZ Stadium 10,257
14th
10
Gold Coast Titans
Loss
20
24
16 May Skilled Park 22,676
14th
11
Cronulla Sharks
Win
30
22
26 May ANZ Stadium
9,289
13th
12
Melbourne Storm
Loss
0
46
31 May Olympic Park Stadium
12,251
14th
13
Newcastle Knights
Loss
12
22
7 June ANZ Stadium
9,565
14th
14
Bye
15
Canberra Raiders
Loss
18
58
21 June ANZ Stadium
9,845
16
Sydney Roosters
Loss
14
24
27 June Sydney Football Stadium 9,271
17
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Loss
30
34
7 July ANZ Stadium 15,562
15th
18
Brisbane Broncos
Win
26
18
13 July Suncorp Stadium 37,683
15th
19
New Zealand Warriors
Loss
22
40
19 July ANZ Stadium 12,973
15th
20
St George Illawarra Dragons
Loss
0
30
25 July ANZ Stadium 7,802
15th
21
Wests Tigers
Loss
4
56
3 August ANZ Stadium
15th
22
North Queensland Cowboys
Loss
12
36
9 August Suncorp Stadium 8,549
15th
23
Penrith Panthers
Loss
16
52
16 August CUA Stadium 7,841
15th
24
Parramatta Eels
Loss
12
26
23 August ANZ Stadium 27,564
15th
25
Brisbane Broncos
Loss
22
36
31 August ANZ Stadium 7,685
16th
26
Canberra Raiders
Loss
34
52
7 September Canberra Stadium
16th

Season ladder[edit]

Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne 24 17 0 7 2 584 282 +302 38
2 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 24 17 0 7 2 645 355 +290 38
3 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla 24 17 0 7 2 451 384 +67 38
4 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Roosters 24 15 0 9 2 511 446 +65 34
5 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 24 14 1 9 2 560 452 +108 33
6 Canberra colours.svg Canberra 24 13 0 11 2 640 527 +113 30
7 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra 24 13 0 11 2 489 378 +111 30
8 New Zealand colours.svg New Zealand 24 13 0 11 2 502 567 -65 30
9 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle 24 12 0 12 2 516 486 +30 28
10 Wests Tigers colours.svg Wests Tigers 24 11 0 13 2 528 560 -32 26
11 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 24 11 0 13 2 501 547 -46 26
12 Panthers colours.svg Penrith 24 10 1 13 2 504 611 -107 25
13 Gold Coast Titans colours.svg Gold Coast 24 10 0 14 2 476 586 -110 24
14 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 24 8 0 16 2 453 666 -213 20
15 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland 24 5 0 19 2 474 638 -164 14
16 Canterbury colours.svg Bulldogs 24 5 0 19 2 433 782 -349 14

Scorers[edit]

For NRL first-grade matches only.

Player Tries Goals Field Goals Points Played
Hazem El Masri 6 44 0 112 18
Heka Nanai 8 0 0 32 15
Tim Winitana 8 0 0 32 19
Daniel Holdsworth 4 5 1 27 17
Matthew Utai 6 0 0 24 9
Luke Patten 4 0 0 16 7
Andrew Ryan 4 0 0 16 21
Willie Tonga 3 0 0 12 7
Arana Taumata 3 0 0 12 5
Brent Crisp 1 3 0 10 2
Ben Roberts 2 0 0 8 18
Reni Maitua 2 0 0 8 14
Corey Hughes 2 0 0 8 19
Cameron Phelps 1 0 0 4 3
Nick Youngquest 1 0 0 4 4
Andrew Emelio 1 0 0 4 2
Daryl Millard 1 0 0 4 12
Lee Te Maari 1 0 0 4 20
Danny Williams 1 0 0 4 8
Ben Barba 1 0 0 4 4
Fred Briggs 0 0 0 0 9
TOTAL 64 52 1 333

Stats to the end of Round 23, NRL, 2008

Squad[edit]

Fullbacks Wingers Centres Five-Eighths Half-Backs Second Rowers Props Hookers Locks
Luke Patten Hazem El Masri Willie Tonga Daniel Holdsworth Ben Roberts Andrew Ryan Jarrad Hickey Corey Hughes Reni Maitua
Brent Crisp Heka Nanai Tim Winitana Joe Williams Aaron Groom Brad Morrin Kane Cleal Michael Sullivan Lee Te Maari
Nick Youngquest Matthew Utai Daryl Millard Ben Barba Nick Kouparitsas Danny Williams
Gary Warburton Chris Armit
Justin Tsoulos

Bold Players have played International or State any year

Player movements[edit]

Gains 2009[edit]

Name Signed From Contract Details
Joe Williams Penrith Panthers Joined Mid 2008
Nick Youngquest Wests Tigers Joined Mid 2008
Josh Morris St. George Illawarra Dragons 3 Years
Brett Kimmorley Cronulla Sharks 2 Years
Ben Hannant Brisbane Broncos 3 Years
Michael Ennis Brisbane Broncos 3 Years
David Stagg Brisbane Broncos 3 Years
Greg Eastwood Brisbane Broncos 1 Year
Michael Hodgson Gold Coast Titans 2 Years

Losses 2009[edit]

Name Signed With Contract Details
Cameron Phelps Wigan Warriors Left Mid 2008
Willie Tonga North Queensland Cowboys 4 Years
Corey Hughes Cronulla Sharks 1 Year
Sonny Bill Williams RC Toulon 2 Years

Off Contract at end of 2009[edit]

Name Contract Details

Off Contract at end of 2010[edit]

Name Contract Details

Off Contract at end of 2011[edit]

Name Contract Details

References[edit]

  1. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (2008-06-22). "Dogs belted by Raiders". League HQ. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 

External links[edit]