AN EXODUS of Cootamundra's big men is no longer a concern to coach Mark Elia, who yesterday declared powerful prop Talia'Uli Takitaki the welcome remedy.
The former Junee prop has been on Elia's radar since his stellar season with the Diesels in 2011, but happened to be in the right place at the right time for the Bulldogs to pounce for his signature.
Speaking to The Daily Advertiser yesterday, Elia said he discovered Takitaki had moved to town by chance and could not pass up the opportunity to lock him in for the Group Nine season.
"He played with me at Junee in 2011 and he played well against Coota in both games that year," Elia said.
"He just moved to town and we've convinced him to stay.
"The boys are really keen to get him going for us and bolster the forward pack."
Fresh from a Canberra Raiders Cup premiership victory with Belconnen United, Takitaki's credentials as a former Group 20 representative are expected to plug the gap after the Bulldogs lost the majority of the their pack.
From last year's pack, the Bulldogs have haemorrhaged key forward Dave Edwards, as well as English stars Kyle Neal and Michael Murphy and Tom Sellars.
However, Elia insists the addition of the Takitaki will complement his plans for the Bulldogs assault on the Group Nine competition.
"He's a strong workhorse of a player, really hard worker," Elia said.
"He's got a lot of minutes in him, he's a good strong runner and defensively that will help us out a lot.
"We were looking at being a bit light in the forwards with Dave Edwards on the move and Kyle Neal and Michael Murphy going home and then Tom Sellars going to Yenda.
"He'll definitely help us strengthen the side."
Elia said Takitaki was now living and working in Cootamundra and also "doing a bit of bar work" for the club's new major sponsor, The Globe Hotel.