Chapter: Intro

The Bulldog Story By Gary LesterCanterbury has been a pioneer in the new professionalism of rugby league. They were the most successful club of the 1980s, a colossus in the toughest rugby league arena in the world.

The road to the top has not been easy even though Canterbury's early years suggested that the club's trophy cupboards would always be full. A new club in 1935, they were premiers in 1938 and again in 1942.

Yet their next premiership was not until 1980. In between, there had been much soul searching. From 1948-1966, Canterbury reached the semi-finals just once and despite a grand final appearance in 1967, a “reformation” in 1969, in which a new committee swept into power, turned the club upside down.

The Bulldog Story is about those dramas, about the day tough Eddie Burns cried, about the frustrations and defeats of the '50s, the anguish of the 1979 grand final loss, the Entertainers of 1980 and about the glories of the three premierships that followed... in 1984, '85 and '88.

So many great players have graced the Bulldog jumper – Burns, Henry Porter, Ron Bailey, Roy Kirkaldy, Ron Willey, Les Johns, John Greaves, Kevin Ryan, the Hughes and Mortimers, George Peponis, Chris Anderson, Greg Brentnall and Terry Lamb, among many others.

To win four premierships in the '80s is a remarkable achievement and underlines the professional management of both the football club and the Canterbury League Club.

This is a journey through times and good, of wonderful memories and lingering controversies. The Bulldog Story is never boring.

Please choose from the chapters in the drop down list below. The Bulldog Story was published in 1991 and therefore covers history between 1935-1990. Throughout the season we will add our own chapters on recent years – until then, look out for the next installment: The Bulldogs – Never Say Never 1935-2006, available later this year.