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A casual meeting with Dean Pay in Wests Tigers territory sealed the deal for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to link with Canterbury for the next 18 months. 

Watene-Zelezniak met with Pay at a cafe in Concord a fortnight ago, when his playing days at the Panthers appeared numbered after he had been left out of the side since round 10. 

Admitting to needing counselling advice during the tumultuous month-long period, the 23-year-old hopes a change of club will bring a fresh perspective on the game. 

"The meetings I had with Dean Pay ... what he portrayed the club to be and what they're about," Watene-Zelezniak said of what lured him to Belmore. 

"He reassured me how much the club was interested in me, their plans for the future, how much they believe in family, their values and the things they're about. 

"I feel good in blue and white, it's a privilege to be here, it's such an amazing club."

Watene-Zelezniak said the decision to leave Penrith was the hardest of his life and he won't be dumping a bucket on the club that gave him his start.

Ivan Cleary gave me my debut and I'll always respect that  

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

The Kiwi international fronted media in Bulldogs colours on Thursday for the first time since his departure was confirmed by Penrith last week but he had little to say as to what pushed him over the edge to leave his junior club.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary told a media session last week it was up to Watene-Zelezniak to explain, and that the club's decision to release him was good for all parties.

"The Panthers are in the past now," Watene-Zelezniak said.

"I want to talk about the Bulldogs and how I can do a job for them. Ivan gave me my debut and I'll always respect that. I'll be forever grateful for that.

"I've got my brother still there and out of respect for him and my mates there and their families I just want to look forward."

The father of two was all smiles as he spoke of his enthusiasm to get back on the paddock after a month out of the game and link with former team-mates Corey Harawira-Naera and Christian Crichton.

He's also close to Kieran Foran and Raymond Faitala-Mariner through the Kiwis connection, while Reimis Smith is the son of Watene-Zelezniak's player manager Tyran Smith. 

Watene-Zelezniak will line up in the centres for Sunday afternoon's clash against the Roosters at the SCG.

He refuted suggestions he was unhappy about not playing fullback and said the No.1 jersey was never a guarantee as part of the Belmore move.

New Bulldogs recruit Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
New Bulldogs recruit Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

"It gets said a lot but I am happy to play anywhere," Watene-Zelezniak said.

"My main preference has always been fullback but I'll play wherever Dean [Pay] needs me to.

"I reassured Dean. It's come out that I only want to play fullback and I'll kick up a stink but that's never been the case."

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