By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Despite being on the brink of collapse just three months ago, the Strathfield Group has today signed on as a Bulldogs’ major sponsor in a 3-year deal. Under the agreement, the Strathfield logo will appear on the NRL club’s shirt front, starting with this weekend’s game against South Sydney.

Both Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg and Strathfield Group chairman Vaz Hovanessian have been quoted expressing their delight at this deal, though there must have been some hesitation for both parties.

“Strathfield is an iconic brand with strong public awareness, with big plans for the future and we’re delighted that they’ve decided to invest in the Bulldogs,” said Greenberg.

Hovanessian was equally sanguine.

“The Bulldogs provide us with an excellent opportunity to align our brand with one of the most successful, dynamic and progressive teams in Australian sport,” he said.

Progressive is an interesting word to use to describe the Bulldogs. Just two weeks ago, the NRL deducted the Belmore-based club 2 competition points for fielding a 14th player. This indiscretion came shortly before players were stood down from a match for fighting amongst themselves.

Go back to 2002, and the Bulldogs were stripped of 37 competition points for flagrantly rorting the salary cap. Then, in a case which made national headlines, players were linked to, though none charged, with a sexual assault case investigated in Coffs Harbour.

Strathfield’s decision to align itself with the Bulldogs organisation could ultimately have a detrimental effect on its own image. This is despite the group already being heavily criticised in the media after it was forced into administration in January 2009. contacted both the Bulldogs and Strathfield’s media representatives for comment, but they were unavailable.