A group of Kurri Kurri Old Boys has formed a new coterie group to establish a fighting fund to attract a marquee player or players to keep the Bulldogs in the premiership hunt for years to come.
The establishment of the Bulldogs 18th Man group, which will be open to Old Boys and supporters,comes as the Bulldogs beat the Maitland Pickers in an emotion charged final round clash to clinch a spot in the semi-finals.
The concept of the 18th Man arose after discussions among Old Boys president Mick Carr and several other Old Boys about how they could help the Bulldogs match other clubs in the player market.
The Old Boys is the major fund-raiser for the club and the 18th Man group would sit separate. Membership will be $500 a year and the money raised only spent if the group’s committee agrees that the player will increase the team’s chances of winning a premiership.
“The club will approach the committee with a candidate and the vote must be a minimum of four out of five be approved,” Carr said.
“It gives Ronnie (Griffiths) and coaches in the future the ability to go out in the market and compete with the other club’s for a marquee player.
“It would be a separate fund for a specific player and ensures the rest of the team are well looked after from existing funds.”
The Bulldogs and Pickers meet for the second week in a row in Saturday’s elimination final at the Maitland Sportsground.
The Bulldogs played finals footy on Saturday to beat Maitland 17-12 at an atmosphere charged Kurri Kurri Sportsground on Saturday.
All the ingredients were there, from the moment the Bulldogs ran out onto the ground through a guard of honour of the club’s life members, that they would win their fourth game in a row and claim a spot in the semi-finals..
A huge contingent of Kurri Kurri Old Boys, a threatening sky and later rain to dull the Pickers attacking class and a team united to prove all the doubters wrong just added to the sense of occasion.
The Bulldogs needed to win to play in the semis, but they were made to work for it by the Pickers who were strong defensively but completed just 55 per cent of their sets.
Efforts by the two clubs to have all their finals games to be played at Maitland in a Coalfieds footy super Saturday have been vetoed by rival clubs.
It will mean the Bulldogs open age team, who finished second, will play third placed Lakes United in the qualifying final at St John Oval on Sunday in what is Mick Carr’s 250th grade game for the club.
Carr has played 15 first grade games, 99 reserves, 23 under-19s and the remainder in open age, coaching the team to the premiership in 2015.