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The club stalwarts: Canterbury and Gold Coast

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Roar Guru
15th October, 2021
21

This is the eighth and final article in a series naming each club’s best team of loyal stalwarts. Not necessarily just one-club players, but those who turned out for the club over a long period and helped build its success and culture.

Today, I look at the Canterbury Bulldogs, one of the greatest clubs of all time, and the Gold Coast Titans, the competition’s newest club.

Canterbury Bulldogs

The Bulldogs entered the competition in 1935, have won eight premierships from their 18 grand final appearances, and have finished minor premiers on seven occasions.

Some 819 players have worn the famous blue and white since day one, with one of those players notching up over 300 games, 12 with 200 games or more, and 64 who have played over 100 games for the club.

The following team of stalwarts is selected from those players with 160 or more games.

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1. Luke Patten – 225 games
He was an outstanding fullback, both in attack and defence, and a key member of their 2004 premiership-winning team.

2. Hazem El Mazri – 317 games
He holds the Bulldogs’ records for most games, most tries and the most points scored. He is a one-club Bulldogs legend in every respect, and the greatest goal kicker of all time. He was a premiership winner in 2004.

3. Andrew Farrar – 186 games
He was an uncompromising competitor who combined powerful running with rock-hard defence. He twice won premierships with the Bulldogs.

4. Josh Morris – 217 games
He was one of the best all-round centres of the modern game, who scored over 100 tries for the Bulldogs.

Brett and Josh Morris

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

5. Chris Anderson – 230 games
He was small by today’s standards, but a winger with great speed and positional sense. He was a Bulldogs favourite who completed the rare double of winning a premiership with the club in 1980 as a player, and then as a coach in 1995.

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6. Terry Lamb – 262 games
A prolific point scorer and possibly the greatest support player ever, Terry Lamb won two premierships with the Bulldogs.

7. Steve Mortimer – 273 games
He was the Bulldogs’ favourite son and a legend who embodies everything good about the club. Mortimer spent 13 years at Belmore, and won three premierships, two as captain.

Terry Lamb and Steve Mortimer

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

8. Eddie Burns – 215 games
He spent 16 years in the Canterbury front row, an incredible performance in an era when a rugby league front row was a battle ground. Burns was a one-club legend who made his first grade debut as a 19-year-old in Round 3 of the club’s inaugural season in 1935, a game in which he was sent off, and was part of their premiership-winning teams of 1938 and 1942.

9. Fred Anderson – 197 games
He was one of the best hookers of his era when winning the ball in the contested scrums was vital to a team’s success.

10. Steve Price – 222 games
He was one of the best front rowers to go around during the 1990s and he won a premiership with the club in 1995. He captained the team in their victorious 2004 season, but missed the grand final through injury. Bulldogs bench player, Johnathan Thurston, gave his premiership ring to Price after the match.

11. Steve Folkes – 245 games
He was a club legend and four-time Bulldogs premiership winner as a player and once as a coach. Folkes wasn’t the biggest back rower going around but he was certainly one of the most feared defenders.

12. Andrew Ryan – 218 games
He was a hard-working and relentless forward who was one of the best in the game in the 2000s. He captained the team in their 2004 grand final win.

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13. Josh Jackson – 218 games, and counting
He is a big-hearted player and inspirational current club captain who just never gives up.

Bulldogs

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

14. Corey Hughes – 213 games
He was a versatile player who could play dummy half, second row and in the halves. He won a premiership with the Bulldogs in 2004.

15. Bill Noonan – 161 games
He was a no-nonsense and extremely fit front rower who never took a backward step.

16. Darren Britt – 168 games
He was big, tough and almost the complete package for a front rower. He was part of the Bulldogs’ premiership-winning team in 1995 and a long-time club captain.

17. Darren Smith – 185 games
A versatile player equally at home either in the centres or the back row, Smith was a fine attacking player and a prolific try scorer.

Some notable players who were omitted were work-horse Aiden Tolman, tough centre Chris Mortimer, halves Craig Polla-Mounter and Brent Sherwin, and the Hughes boys, Mark, Gary and Glen.

Gold Coast Titans

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Just a young club when compared to the Bulldogs, the Titans only joined the NRL in 2007, and are yet to win a premiership.

Since day one, 168 players have represented the club, with 17 notching up more than 100 games. The following team of Titans stalwarts is selected from players with more than 70 games for the club.

1. Preston Campbell – 103 games
He was a freakish and versatile player who was probably at the wrong end of his career when he arrived at the Titans as a 30-year-old, but was still capable of the extraordinary. He was part of their inaugural team and a fan favourite.

2. Anthony Don – 152 games
He was a top-class winger and prolific try scorer who was a club legend during his nine-year stint with the Titans. He holds the record for the most tries scored for the club.

Anthony Don

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

3. Luke O’Dwyer – 102 games
Equally at home in either the centres or the back row, O’Dwyer was a strong performer for the Titans in his seven-year stint with the club.

4. Mat Rogers – 77 games
He was a classy outside back and a member of their inaugural team who made the move to the Gold Coast after an outstanding five-year stint in rugby union.

5. David Mead – 147 games
He was a deceptively quick outside back and a prolific try scorer who began his career with the Titans in 2009 and is still going strong today.

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6. Greg Bird – 129 games
He was a polarising and sometimes controversial figure who was one of the best and hardest players in the game during his career. He performed at his best when wearing either a NSW or an Australian jersey.

7. Scott Prince – 124 games
An outstanding player and prolific point scorer, Prince was there on day one for the Titans and led them for the six years he was with the club. He holds the record for most points scored for the Titans.

Scott Prince Gold Coast Titans

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

8. Ryan James – 144 games
A strong front rower with a happy knack for scoring tries, James put his body on the line for the Titans for ten seasons.

9. Nathan Friend – 121 games
A clever hooker, Friend played the best football of his long career while at the Titans, and played off the bench in their inaugural team.

10. Luke Douglas – 117 games
Douglas was a big unit and an iron man, notching up his 117 games for the Titans in just four seasons. Always a hard worker, he gave great service to the Gold Coast.

11. Mark Minichiello – 173 games
He was a hard-working second rower and Titans legend who was part of their inaugural team and still holds the record for most games for the club.

12. Kevin Proctor – 94 games, and counting
He is a big, rangy, international second rower who has been one of the club’s best over the last few seasons.

Kevin Proctor

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

13. Ashley Harrison – 117 games
He was a top-class lock forward, and one of the best players ever to wear a Titans jersey, who was underrated throughout his career and unlucky to never win an Australian jersey.

14. Nathan Peats – 70 games
He was a top-class hooker when he went to the Titans and was renowned for his tough defence. He just needed that extra yard of pace to go to the next level.

15. Brad Myers – 75 games
A big and mobile forward, Myers struggled with injuries at times, but when injury free, was one of the Titans’ best performers.

16. Nate Myles – 75 games
Although prone to the odd negative headline, Myles was a tough and relentless forward who got the job done, and was a Queensland Origin favourite.

17. Matthew White – 125 games
A big unit, White based his game on consistency and getting through the tough stuff for his team.

Some of the other Titans players with 70-plus games for the Titans who were not named in this side include speedy fullback William Zillman, the enigmatic Ashley Taylor, current big boppers Jarrod Wallace and Moe Fotuaika, and goal-kicking ace Kevin Gordon.

How would these teams fare in a fantasy match-up? It is not a fair contest really, given the Bulldogs’ greater time in the big league and greater talent pool to draw on. The Dogs win, simple as that.

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