Raymond Faitala-Mariner joins Dragons from Canterbury Bulldogs

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
30/01/2024
News
BettingTop10 News
St. George Illawarra Dragons sign Bulldogs’ Raymond Faitala-Mariner

Raymond Faitala-Mariner leaves after he and other players raised concerns about Bulldogs’ Cameron Ciraldo’s coaching methods. 

News Insights

  • Bulldogs terminate Raymond Faitala-Mariner contract.
  • Faitala-Mariner had two years left on his Bulldogs contract.
  • Bulldogs reportedly owed Faitala-Mariner $800,000 over the next two years.
  • Faitala-Mariner has signed a two-year deal with St. George Illawarra Dragons.

Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Canterbury Bulldogs time together has finally come to an end. The 30-year-old’s Bulldogs contract was terminated on Monday so that he could join St. George Illawarra Dragons.

The former club captain butted heads with head coach Cameron Ciraldo all throughout the 2023 NRL season, and in December, Faitala-Mariner was told to find another club. 

Faitala-Mariner exit confirmed

Raymond Faitala-Mariner’s seven-year stint at Canterbury Bulldogs came to an end on Monday following a year of turmoil on and off the pitch for the veteran back-rower.  

Faitala-Mariner was named club captain ahead of the 2023 NRL season. This was an enormous achievement for the Bulldogs star, but it later proved to be the beginning of the end for Faitala-Mariner’s time at the Belmore club. 

Being the club captain, Faitala-Mariner was tasked with bringing concerns about training up to Bulldogs boss Cameron Ciraldo. These conversations did not go well, leading to tensions between Faitala-Mariner, Ciraldo, and Bulldogs’ general manager Phil Gould. 

It was tough. When things did come out, I had a conversation with the club and they told me it wasn’t true, so I believed them,” said Faitala-Mariner, discussing reports that Ciraldo was set to ban the veteran back-rower from training. In the end, Faitala-Mariner was not banned from training. He blames this on “miscommunication” between himself and the club. 

While this incident proved to be a relatively minor one, it was a sign of things to come for Faitala-Mariner. Bulldogs told the Auckland-born back-rower to find a new club in December. 

Despite the controversies, Bulldogs wished Faitala-Mariner the best in their goodbye statement. 

“Faitala-Mariner has been a positive contributor to the Bulldogs both on and off the field. He has run out for the Club on 102 occasions and the Bulldogs would like to thank him for his hard work and commitment during his time at Belmore. The Club wishes him, and his family, all the best for the future,” said the club on Monday.

Faitala-Mariner joins St. George Illawarra Dragons

Raymond Faitala-Mariner had played for the Bulldogs for virtually his entire career. Besides a one-year stint at New Zealand Warriors in 2015, the 30-year-old’s entire NRL career with the Canterbury Bulldogs. He’s now on his way to St. George Illawarra Dragons. 

The Dragons are pleased to announce the signing of Raymond Faitala-Mariner for the 2024 and 2025 seasons,” said the club via a statement on Monday.“

Raymond is a veteran first-grader who will add some experience and grit to our forward pack,” said new Dragons boss Shane Flanagan. The 58-year-old continued, saying “His ability to play both on an edge and in the middle, as well as the guidance he can provide our emerging forwards, will benefit our entire squad.”

We're excited to welcome him to training this week as we continue our preparation for the 2024 season,” finished Flanagan.

Faitala-Mariner will have a lot of work cut out for him this year. St. George Illawarra Dragons are widely predicted by most betting sites to be the worst team in the NRL this season. Bulldogs, meanwhile, are expected to finish near the bottom for the second straight season.