Canterbury club captain told not to report for training

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Canterbury have told Raymond Faitala-Mariner he won’t be required to attend the club’s first official day of training as the Bulldogs’ strained relationship with its club captain hits a new low.

There has been ongoing speculation over the future of Faitala-Mariner, despite him being contracted until the end of 2025. He was given permission in September to negotiate with other clubs, just eight months after being named club captain.

Faitala-Mariner has yet to find a new home for next year and was expecting to front up at Belmore when the first batch of players were required to begin pre-season on Friday.

“I have been told that he is not required at training on Friday,” said Faitala-Mariner’s manager, Ernesto Santone.

“We would like to come to some sort of resolution to this as soon as possible. With all the innuendo of this season, and then being given permission to talk to other clubs, he still has a contract for 2024 and 2025.

“Obviously, this is coming from the club, which we need to get to the bottom of it.”

Club captain Raymond Faitala-Mariner is on the outer at the Bulldogs.Credit: Getty Images

The Bulldogs declined to comment.

Some of Canterbury’s senior players aren’t required to return to training until mid-November, but Santone said his client had readied himself to be back this week.

“My discussions with Ray have always been that he was back on the 10th [of November],” Santone said. “I aim to meet up with the club as soon as possible.”

There has been ongoing speculation over the future of Faitala-Mariner since this masthead revealed in July he was on the outer at Belmore.

Faitala-Mariner was appointed club captain in January, while Reed Mahoney and Matt Burton were given the on-field co-captain roles. However, the Bulldogs have decided to shake up their roster after a poor 15th-placed finish, in which they recorded the 12th-worst defensive record of the NRL era (765 points conceded, at 32 per game).

Since then the club has been on a signing spree, with confirmation this week that Drew Hutchison, Kurt Mann, Jake Turpin and Poasa Faamausili had all committed to two-year deals. Other confirmed signings include Stephen Crichton, Josh Curran, Blake Taaffe and Jaeman Salmon, while Siosiua Taukeiaho is also expected to join the club after a stint in the UK’s Super League.

The development comes at a time when a spinal specialist has given teenage Canterbury playmaker Karl Oloapu hope of making a successful return from a neck injury that threatened his promising NRL career.

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