Bulldogs unveil unique captaincy structure

Canterbury have named Matt Burton and Reed Mahoney their "on-field captains" for season 2023, while Raymond Faitala-Mariner will be their "club captain".

MATT BURTON. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Canterbury have unveiled an unorthodox leadership structure for 2023 that features Matt Burton and Reed Mahoney as their "game day on-field captains" and Raymond Faitala-Mariner as their "club captain".

The newly re-signed Burton and recruit Mahoney will be in charge of inspiring the Bulldogs on the park, while second-rower Faitala-Mariner is tasked with helping to develop the club's off-field culture.

Australian representative Josh Addo-Carr, premiership-winning recruit Viliame Kikau and forward Max King round out the leadership group and will work with Faitala-Mariner on that aim.

Coach Cameron Ciraldo's decision to overhaul the leadership structure in his first year in charge comes after long-time skipper Josh Jackson announced his retirement at the end of 2022, leaving the Bulldogs with no obvious choice to replace him.

"When Jacko retired and obviously being one of the older ones at the club, I felt like a few boys needed to step up - there are big shoes to fill for Josh Jackson - so I thought I will be one of those boys to step up," Faitala-Mariner said in a statement.

Ex-club captains Jackson, Terry Lamb and Andrew Ryan, who are all employed at the Bulldogs, will work with Mahoney and Burton to develop their leadership skills. Neither man has captained at NRL level before.

For Burton, the captaincy comes after a strong first season with the Bulldogs, during which he made his State of Origin and Australian debuts.

His appointment to the captaincy comes after signing a five-year contract extension with the Bulldogs earlier this month.

"I never thought I would have got the opportunity to captain the side and it's obviously a really big honour," Burton said.

"It's great that I'll have Reed there beside me. It's new to both of us so it's going to be a big challenge, but we're both really looking forward to leading the side."