Why more than just a new coach is needed to fix a dog’s breakfast

Now that the Bulldogs have left Trent Barrett as coach, they need to see the big picture before returning to a successful club.

The legendary leader of the club Peter “Bullfrog” Moore often said that the most important people in the organization are the players.

And the roster is the main area that Canterbury will have to fix their next coach will give anyone a chance to fight.

With Phil Gold calling the shots, he’s got the big picture power to sort out what the Bulldogs need to set up to succeed again, but he has to work through all sorts of pay cap constraints.

They have already let young Brent Naden join the West Tigers and I think a few more canals will leave in the coming months.

When he took over last year, Gus knew he would have to make some tough decisions to rebuild the roster, but we also know that he will not be left behind when it comes to moving forward on that front.

He did the same thing he started at Penrith when he had to give up some of his top players like Wade Graham, Luke Lewis and Michael Gordon because of their pay cap problems.

Brent Naden

(Photo by Mark Colby / Getty Images)

His work at Canterbury has become even more difficult with some of the players who have signed heavy contracts in the last year or two. They have snookered themselves with some terrifying purchases that they tried and made quick results.

Some people like Tevita Pangai jnr and Luke Thompson have some big numbers in the contract. Even someone like Josh Jackson, who has been a loyal stalwart for a long time, will have to face a tough decision with someone like him.

Not just coaches, but a number of players and staff will be under review.

I can’t see how fast they can trade their way out of it. It will take a few years for the roster to take shape.

And that’s bad news for those frustrated fans who thought they’d come to the end of the tunnel. It’s not Groundhog Day, it’s Bulldog Day.

People were quick to criticize Des Hasler for what he did at the club but he led them to two grand finals and he was there for most of the year.

With some of the inexperienced coaches of Pay and Barrett having their general results since Daisy left in 2018, I think they have to go with someone with a run on the board.

In my view, there are three standout candidates, Shane Flanagan, Paul Green and Christian Wolf.

Flanagan and Green have won the Premiership at Cronula and Cowboys respectively and I think they both learned how their time at these two clubs ended.

Shark coach Shane Flanagan watches his team warm up

Shane Flanagan (Photo by Mark Colby / Getty Images)

They will reflect on what they did wrong in each of their groups and have the genealogy they need to take on such a role.

Wolf has spent the last few years with St. Helens, he has paid his dues as an assistant in the NRL for a few years and he has spent a lot of time and won as Tonga coach so he is the one I think is worth a punt. An Australian club in the next year or two.

Canterbury can’t afford to make this appointment again.

Flanagan, you would expect, at least to get the best out of his son Kyle, although we’ve seen this year with Jake Arthur at Paramatman, his position can be an additional issue when the coach’s son is on the team and there are questions around.

Some guys aren’t starting halfback, some can handle it and some can’t, and Flanagan has yet to prove that he could be that person three seasons after getting a chance at Rosters and Canterbury.

The underlying problem of the Bulldogs roster is the core position of the spine. They have stuck Matt Burton in fifth-eighth place and next year Reed Mahoney is coming to be their hooker but halfback and fullback are ongoing problems.

Reed Mahni Pass

(Photo by Matt King / Getty Images)

I was lucky enough to play in Canterbury that Barry Nelson, our chairman, had a strong leadership as “Bullfrog” Moore’s secretary – what we called CEO in those days, Warren Ryan as coach and a guy called. Dave Cooper who was our strength and conditioning coach who made sure we were fitter than everyone else.

Until you look back at that company you will not realize how blessed you were.

“Bullfrog” was ahead of his time in the way he secretly took players from other clubs to Belmore, whether it was Terry Lamb of West or Peter Kelly of Newtown or when he invited all the other club officials to a restaurant dinner. When he signed with the best young players in the country, they realized he was not present.

Nowadays with media and player managers talking a lot about who goes where, it has become more transparent, which makes it so hard to find that diamond in the rough that Canterbury needs.

Maybe they should see in the Super League if there is a halfback who could be the playmaker they need. It worked a few years ago to bring in some UK employers for Canberra so it could be an alternative for dogs.

Getting the right people in the right roles is the key to everything.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - April 30: Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett coaches the players from the bench during the Round Eight NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Sydney Rooster at the Stadium Australia in April 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Jason McCully / Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason McCully / Getty Images)

Bulldogs fans are fanatics. They have always been, going back to when I was a player in the 1980s. They are helpless, rusty fans who hope their team will play well and win their share of the game.

I’m glad that when I was playing and then coaching it was before the age of social media. You may still want to tackle it in the editor’s letter or on talkback radio, but it’s free online forums and social media কিছুই nothing like the vitriol of today’s police players and coaches for everyone.

These people are often experts in retrospect. My old Bulldogs coach Warren Ryan used to say that it is very easy to be wise after information but you have to be smart before the game starts.

For Barrett, I remember saying on the radio a few years ago that he was taking on the toughest coaching job in the NRL and wasn’t sure if taking that job would be the best thing for his career.

Trent, who has gone through some turbulent coaching experiences at Manly and the Dogs, will have to re-evaluate whether he wants to be head coach again and the pressure of the role-seekers.

He has to decide if being an assistant is right for him where he has done a great job at Penrith because not everyone can be the head coach.

Hopefully no matter what role he plays in the game he still has a long future because I feel for the man in the way things have turned out for him in Canterbury.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.