Canterbury’s rebuild into a NRL force will have a distinct Western Rams feel to it after the Bulldogs announced Josh Jackson as the club’s captain in 2018.
A Mudgee Dragons junior hailing from Gulgong, Jackson will help orchestrate the return of the ‘Dogs of War’ coached by Dubbo boy Dean Pay.
The NSW forward was unveiled as the new Bulldogs captain during the club's pre-season camp in Terrigal on Wednesday, replacing the departed James Graham as skipper under Pay’s new regime.
"I don't really know what to say. It's quite emotional,” Jackson said at the announcement, choking back tears in front of close to 150 people including friends and family.
“I love this and I'll do anything for this club and the boys.”
“I don't think anything else in my career can top this. Thanks Deano, thanks to Ray and the board. Thanks for all the positive changes the last few months.
“This has really been the most enjoyable pre-season and most rewarding pre-season that I have been a part of in my career."
Jackson replaces the departed English prop Graham, who took on the full-time captaincy duties following the departure of Michael Ennis to the Cronulla Sharks in 2015, developing a cult following with his emotional style of leadership.
Jackson edged the likes of former Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods and half Keiran Foran to the captaincy, although Pay has said he’s reluctant to heap added pressure on two of the club’s biggest recruits.
The Bulldogs are hoping to return to finals contention after a disastrous 2017 season.
Jackson is confident the club is headed in the right direction.
"This year is going to be a successful year, we've worked extremely hard the last few months, we have a great bunch of boys,” he said.
“I know it's a great responsibility but we've got the team to do it.”