AS one of the prouder clubs in the Group Seven competition, the Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs are used to success on the field.
But unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for the club, with them again missing the finals in 2018 – marking close to a decade without finals football in first grade.
As such, the club is hellbent on ending that finals drought and bringing back the Bill Andriske Oval glory days.
The first piece of the puzzle was re-signing influential coach Brenden Fernley, which the club did at the end of the last year.
Once their coach was in place, the club started their exciting player recruitment drive.
First step was attracting Bulldogs juniors Jayde Tooth, Carl Warburton and brothers Trent and Todd Ryan back to the club.
“At the end of last year, there was talk the club might not be able to field a first grade side – which would have been extremely disappointing for this rugby league loving community,” Fernley said.
“But with some swift actions by the club, we are now in a very positive place, with people coming up to us regularly asking if these former junior stars are returning to the club.
“It’s huge for the area to have these boys back in Bulldogs colours, as they are all seasoned footballers, who know what it takes to succeed in this competition.
“It’s a very exciting time for the club.”
On top of that quartet, Fernely has also added Goulburn’s Zac Hart and Mittagong’s Paul Thornton to the squad.
“Zac has come through the Penrith Panthers system and is a solid middle, who will add a lot of toughness to our pack," Fernley said.
“Zac has strong values and a no nonsense approach to his footy – him and Paul, a big, strong, aggressive player, with a huge work rate, are great assets to the club.
“Paul’s presence should help Tyler Clark, who we ran into the ground last year – they will be one of the top prop combinations in the league.”
This exciting sextet will be added to the Bulldogs’ returning core of Lepani Waqa, Tyler Clark, Blake Mackey and PJ Ardler.
“Everyone wants to be here for the right reasons and everyone is prepared to put in the work to be successful, as shown at our first session on Saturday,” Fernley said.
“We are very lucky to have put this squad together and I’m excited to see where we can go, because I know this is a team that can challenge for the title in 2019.”
On top of these players, Fernley will also have local juniors Tarje Whitford, Oscar Fitzpatrick and Lochlan Broughton at his disposal in 2019.
To get involved in the Bulldogs club, contact club secretary Sharon Dowton on 0406 977 101.