Thinned player stocks concern Bulldogs

Daniel Gilhooly
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak hopes the Bulldogs avoid any more setbacks before the NRL restarts

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak admits injuries and the sacking of two disgraced players has left the Canterbury Bulldogs crossing fingers there are no further setbacks ahead of the NRL's resumption.

The Bulldogs returned to training at Belmore on Wednesday, with fullback Watene-Zelezniak estimating there are 25 fit players at their disposal.

Star five-eighth Kieran Foran went through drills with his teammates as his recovery from shoulder reconstruction gathers pace but his readiness to play won't be clear until contact training begins.

Joe Stimson is part way through a shoulder reconstruction process and looks set to miss the entire season while fellow-forward Chris Smith (knee) is still an estimated six weeks off returning.

It compounds the club's personnel issues after Jayden Okunbor and Corey Harawira-Naera have had their contracts deregistered by the NRL following their their off-field misconduct during the club's pre-season trip to Port Macquarie.

"It's a bit disappointing to lose players but at the same time we've all got a job to do and we just have to hope that everyone stays fit and strong," Watene-Zelezniak said.

"At the moment we've got a healthy 17. We've got a few players to fill in if we need it but we'll see what management does and see who they bring in.

"Foz (Foran) is a really class player so to have him back in the team and steer the ship a bit will be something I'm looking forward to because I play closely with the halves."

Club captain Josh Jackson said the players had come to grips with their biosecurity requirements and didn't expect the changed living arrangements for winger Marcelo Montoya to be disruptive.

He confirmed plans are in place for Montoya to live in alternative accommodation because his mother works in an aged care facility.

"It will be a little bit disruptive but it's something I know Marcy has taken in his stride," Jackson said.

"There's a lot of people in the community who are making a lot of sacrifices along the same lines or even greater."

Jackson's partner is a doctor and he confirmed the NRL had inquired at the nature of her work - she is training to be an anaesthetist.- in case he needed to move out of their home.

He can stay put because she doesn't come in contact with COVID-19 patients.