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2023 Bulldogs Junior Representative Awards

2023 Bulldogs Junior Representative Awards (Photo : Bulldogs media)

2023 Bulldogs Junior Representative Awards

Author : Caitlin Glanville Media & Communications Manager

2023 Bulldogs Junior Representative Awards

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs has celebrated the successes of its’ Academy programs in 2023.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Chair John Khoury spoke proudly of the night’s honourees, in a year where the Club’s junior representative teams earned three grand final appearances and one premiership trophy.

“The Bulldogs Academy represents the future of our Club,” Khoury said.

“Each of our teams were incredibly competitive in 2023, and the tenacity, grit and determination that each of our players showed week in and week out, is everything we ask of any player when they pull on the blue-and-white jersey.

“With talented and developing individuals like this in our pathways system, as well as the committed and passionate support and coaching staff that we have been fortunate enough to have on board for 2023, we know there is a big future ahead for our Club.”

The evening was hosted by MC and Fox Sports presenter, Darcie McDonald who reflected on the achievements of the Bulldogs Academy and development system.

Bulldogs Chairman John Khoury with MC and Fox Sports presenter Darcie McDonald (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

Bulldogs Chairman John Khoury with MC and Fox Sports presenter Darcie McDonald (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

Over 280 junior representative players and guests came together at Accor Stadium on Wednesday evening to celebrate the collective achievements of the Club.

Halfback Mitchell Woods earned the 2023 Bulldogs Harold Matthews Player of the Year Award, while Sheldon Abbey was selected for the 2023 Coaches Award.

Mitchell proved himself a natural born leader, captaining the 2023 Bulldogs Harold Matthews Cup team to the Premiership win and always leading by example.

A disciplined and hard worker, Mitchell gave good direction to his team and was instrumental in the success they achieved this year. He was solid in defence and dangerous in attack, a well deserving recipient of the honours.

Bulldogs Harold Matthews Player of the Year and halfback Mitchell Woods also earned the NSWRL 2023 Grand Final Player of the Match Award. (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

Bulldogs Harold Matthews Player of the Year and halfback Mitchell Woods also earned the NSWRL 2023 Grand Final Player of the Match Award. (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

Abbey nabbed the Harold Matts Coaches Award with the lock giving consistent efforts all season – he always pushed, led the kick chases and worked hard all season for his teammates.

His grit and quick play of the ball generating alot of tries and line breaks for the championship side.

AJ Jones picked up the Bulldogs SG Ball Player of the Year, with fellow forward Damon Marshall earning the Coaches Award accolade.

The Bulldogs SG Ball Cup side finished the season in 8th position but put in a valiant effort despite losing 11 players to a Jersey Flegg elevation.

Jones stepped up as a real leader amongst the 2023 squad, owning the forward pack and providing some real intimidation to the rest of the competition. He played long minutes each week, never wavering on his effort or intensity.

AJ Jones picked up the Bulldogs SG Ball Player of the Year, with fellow forward Damon Marshall earning the Coaches Award accolade (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

AJ Jones picked up the Bulldogs SG Ball Player of the Year, with fellow forward Damon Marshall earning the Coaches Award accolade (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

Coaches Award recipient, Marshall was a late call up to the 2023 SG squad but made immediate impact on arrival.

He was a true competitor throughout the season, aggressive in defence and carrying intent every time the ball was in his hands.

In the growing women’s program, Tarli Dennis was announced the 2023 Bulldogs Tarsha Gale Cup Player of the Year with Latisha Smythe earning the Coaches Award.

The Bulldogs Tarsha Gale side were the competition Minor Premiers in 2023, entering the grandfinal undefeated to face-off against an also undefeated and unversed Indigenous Academy Roosters outfit.

Unfortunately the side were unable to best the Roosters, falling just shy 26-22. Despite the defeat, Dennis played a key role in a hearty attack that would leave the side battling to the end.

Congratulations to Tarli Dennis, the Bulldogs 2023 Tarsha Gale Cup Player of the Year. (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

Congratulations to Tarli Dennis, the Bulldogs 2023 Tarsha Gale Cup Player of the Year. (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

The rake showed her determination and grit, working hard behind the scenes to earn a bench position from Round 5, then maintaining the no.9 starting position for the season thereafter.

Teammate and front rower Smythe, earned her accolade after she played out of position all season and was selflessly, happy to do so in the team’s best interest.

Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership

To close out the evening, Holli Wheeler collected the 2023 Bulldogs Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership Player of the Year and halfback Tayla Preston picked up the Coaches Award.

Holli Wheeler was announced the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 2023 Harvey Norman Womens Player of the Year. (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

Holli Wheeler was announced the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 2023 Harvey Norman Womens Player of the Year. (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

Wheeler fell one game short of the decider with the experienced Jillaroo and Sky Blue forward suffering a right knee injury in the sides semi-final win over the Illawarra Steelers.

While she couldn’t take the field during the intense 1-0 grand-final loss to Mounties, Wheeler had well-and-truly steered her team in the right direction, working hard all season and keeping the teams’ morale up despite some mid-season injuries.

Holli played each match with heart and excelled on the ‘one percenters’, whether it be a kick chase, kick pressure or chasing hard on a line break, Holli always gave 100 percent effort.

Coaches Award winner, Preston was a chief playmaker in the Harvey Norman Womens inaugural season. Every time she ran the ball, she was a threat and defensively she was part of a right edge that took pride in keeping a clean sheet every week.

Bulldogs General Manager Football Phil Gould was among the distinguished guests to address the nights' winners (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

Bulldogs General Manager Football Phil Gould was among the distinguished guests to address the nights’ winners (Photo : Bulldogs Media)

As we look to 2023, the Bulldogs look forward to even more development opportunities for our local and satellite representative players as they work towards their goal of an NRL and NRLW career.

Congratulations again to all of the Bulldogs 2023 Junior Representative Award winners:

Harold Matthews Cup Player of the Year Winner, Mitchell Woods
Harold Matthews Cup Coaches Award Winner, Sheldon Abbey
SG Ball Cup Player of the Year Winner, AJ Jones
SG Ball Cup Coaches Award Winner, Damon Marshall
Tarsha Gale Cup Player of the Year Winner, Tarli Dennis
Tarsha Gale Cup Coaches Award Winner, Latisha Smythe
Harvey Norman Womens Player of the Year Winner, Holli Wheeler
Harvey Norman Womens Premiership Coaches Award Winner, Tayla Preston

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