You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Bulldogs winger Jayden Okunbor.

Canterbury are moving to ward off circling Sydney rivals with a two-year extension for boom Belmore local Jayden Okunbor after stunning record breaking returns from his first fortnight in the NRL.

Okunbor's 290 running metres, three line breaks and a try against Melbourne add another set of impressive figures to go with his 196cm, 109kg frame.   

Combined with the 214 metres he clocked up on debut against Wests Tigers, the dreadlocked Bulldog has tallied a mammoth 504 running metres in two first-grade games.

No other player in the NRL era comes close to Okunbor's impressive mark, the next best being Euan Aitken's 379 metres from his first two Dragons games in 2015. understands three rival Sydney clubs have expressed interest in off-contract Okunbor – a Bulldogs junior from age 13 – since his switch from back row to the wing last year.

Dogs determined to cover loss of Napa

But Canterbury are also well aware of the 22-year-old's potential, with negotiations ongoing around an upgraded offer that would keep Okunbor at Belmore until the end of 2021.

A spilled bomb that led to Cameron Munster's match-winning try speaks to the learning curve Okunbor still faces, having been dropped back to Ron Massey Cup less than 12 months ago.

But the Bulldogs big men are more than happy with Okunbor's hard yards early in their sets, particularly when the likes of Cameron Smith end up a bug on his blue and white windscreen. Twice.

"The first two weeks he's found a home there on the wing and his carries coming out of our end, that yardage - 290 metres against Melbourne - they're tremendous numbers," Bulldogs prop and vice-captain Aiden Tolman said.

"There's not too many guys who can go though the middle of Melbourne like he did on the weekend, two or three times as well.

"The challenge of first grade is consistency and he's performed really well for a couple of weeks. We know what he can do and we expect him now to keep going and keep producing."

Okunbor will look to make it a trifecta of impressive outings when he lines up against the Dragons this Sunday.

He and fullback Nick Meaney in particular have breathed life into Dean Pay's 17, making telling contributions in the win over Wests Tigers and a narrow loss to the Storm.

The performances had even more merit in light of the long-term ankle injuries to first Kieran Foran and then Dylan Napa.

Bulldogs fullback Nick Meaney.
Bulldogs fullback Nick Meaney. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

For a club that has publicly addressed a desire to return more local juniors to its first-grade ranks, the rise of the Milperra Colts product has been watched keenly by Tolman.

"Jayden's been here for a number of years now," Tolman said.

"He's come through our junior system and I remember him from when he was 15 or 16, he's pretty memorable looking like Jamal Idris.

"He's a quality player and we always knew he had the talent, especially in SG Ball and under 20s, he did stand out. But it was just whether he wanted to take his game to the next level.

"Full credit to him, he has. He's been playing really good footy. It's really pleasing to see a guy that's been nurtured from such a young age come through and get his crack, and take it with some really good performances.

"It's a positive for the club and it's really good for the fans to see."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners