Flanagan revels in Dogs' long-term love

Former Rooster Kyle Flanagan is looking forward to NRL life with the Bulldogs.
Former Rooster Kyle Flanagan is looking forward to NRL life with the Bulldogs.

Kyle Flanagan claims the weight has been lifted off his shoulders at Canterbury, with Trent Barrett's faith in him taking the pressure down after being axed by the Sydney Roosters.

Flanagan has emerged as one of the hard-luck stories of the summer, cut by the Roosters after just one year as the club's halfback.

But he is feeling the love at the Bulldogs under Barrett, who he compared to Cooper Cronk for his analysis and guidance.

Signed on a three-year deal, Flanagan has become the half around whom Barrett wants to build his tenure at Canterbury as the club look to overhaul their attack.

"Knowing that I am the long-term halfback here gives me a lot of confidence and I can really build my game here," Flanagan said.

"I don't have to go out there and do the try assists and score tries straightaway.

"Talking to Baz and everyone at the club I really know that they want to build a team around me.

"Baz has been really been clear that I just have to do my role and play a seven-out-of-10 each week."

After training alongside his predecessor Cronk at Roosters before COVID hit, Flanagan set up 11 tries in 20 games in the 2020 campaign, and scored four himself.

But his control in their finals losses was questioned, while the club's right-edge defence let in almost double the amount of tries as the left.

Asked if he felt the same long-term faith at the Rooster as he has been shown by the Bulldogs, Flanagan said: "Hindsight is a very good thing.

"I don't want to go into that too much but I signed there with that in mind. But obviously (that's not how it worked out).

"I don't feel like I am under any pressure here at all. I just want to continue to build my game, keep getting better each week."

Barrett could be the ideal man for Flanagan to link with.

The former St George Illawarra half was the mastermind behind Nathan Cleary's attack at Penrith last year, and also had Daly Cherry-Evans running hot at Manly.

"He's so smart, the way he looks at the game in attack and also in defence as well," Flanagan said.

"Having him there for myself throughout the year is going to be massive for me and (he'll be) just like another Cooper Cronk to me."

Australian Associated Press