In a huge signing coup, Kurri Kurri have announced the singing of former NRL star Blake Ferguson for the 2024 Newcastle Rugby League season.
The seven time Kangaroo representative will be crucial to the Bulldogs rebuild following the appointment of veteran coach Rip Taylor.
Taylor and Ferguson have worked together before in their time at the Sydney Roosters.
Ferguson played this season with his hometown club the Wellington Cowboys and most recently played NRL with Parramatta in 2021.
2023 coach and Bulldogs stalwart Danny Linnane said the deal came about through Ferguson's friendship with player Jesse Wighton.
"Jesse Wighton knows Blake quite well and we got chatting and it just snowballed from there," he said.
After a winless 2023 season, Linnane said Ferguson's signing also helps lift the profile of the club.
"To get him back when he's still capable (is huge) and that's going to draw interest," he said.
"A lot of people have been saying, well let's go watch a few Kurri games."
"We're all getting a bit excited and we're on a two or three year build at the moment trying to get these key people in there."
The announcement comes after the club re-signed Wighton, hooker Temple-Olympia Kalepo and outside back Brock Allaway.
Kalepo, a former Knights development player, was one of the shining lights for the Bulldogs in an otherwise disappointing season.
Lock Connor Kirkwood has also joined from Macquarie. Kirkwood is a Greta Branxton junior and has played grand finals for both Cessnock and Macquarie over the last five seasons.
He will be joined in the Bulldogs forward pack by hooker Tom McKenzie who returns to a playing role in 2024. McKenzie was an assistant coach to Linnane this season following an operation on both ankles.