Young gun takes aim at former club

Canterbury Bulldogs recruit Kyle Flanagan has taken aim at the Sydney Roosters after he was cruelly dumped by the club last year.

Flanagan was the NRL’s third-highest point-scorer during the 2020 premiership, with 198 points and 11 try assists in 20 games.

But after the club’s semi-final defeat to the Canberra Raiders, the halfback was brutally axed by the Roosters one season into his three-year contract.

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The 22-year-old was quickly snapped up by the Bulldogs, signing on for three seasons at Belmore.

But speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Flanagan conceded it was “frustrating” to be told there was no longer a place for him on the Roosters roster.

“I signed with the Roosters to grow and develop into the role over the next few years,” Flanagan said. “Then to be told a year later that plan isn‘t there anymore, that was the hardest pill to swallow.

“That’s the business we’re in, I guess.”

Flanagan said being benched for two games halfway through the 2020 season also came as a shock, particularly considering he was the competition’s highest point-scorer at the time.

“It definitely (affected) my confidence during the year when I thought I was playing really well,” Flanagan admitted.

“I look back now going, ‘What the hell was going on there?’”

Kyle Flanagan of the Roosters.Source:Getty Images

In October, rugby league immortal Andrew Johns said he could not understand why Flanagan was copping criticism.

“Everyone knocking Kyle Flanagan, I think he’s had a really strong year,” Johns told Wide World of Sports’ Freddy & the Eighth.

“Go and watch Johnathan Thurston when he was 20, watch myself when I was 20, go watch Cooper Cronk — he was coming off the bench playing dummy-half.

“It takes so long to try to master the halfback position.”

Since their season ended in September, the Bulldogs have secured the signature of several high-profile players, including Flanagan, Nick Cotric and Jack Hetherington.

Last month, State of Origin superstar Josh Addo-Carr signed a four-year deal with the Bulldogs, reportedly valued at $2 million.

“It is fantastic news for our members and fans that we have been able to add someone of the class of Kyle to our squad,” former Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill said in a statement.

“He is a quality all-round footballer, who will bring game management and a strong kicking component to our halves, as well as having the potential to grow as a player under Trent Barrett and his coaching staff.

“We are putting together a squad that has the right qualities and everyone is excited about getting back together for the pre-season in what we believe is a new beginning for the club.

“We can‘t wait for Kyle to be a part of that.”

The Bulldogs will face the Newcastle Knights for their first fixture of the 2021 season on Friday, March 12th.

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