Yet another on-field thrashing was what the Bulldogs endured this past weekend. However, it’s merely a prelude to the substantial upheaval predicted for the approaching off-season.
The Bulldogs aim to leave their bleak past behind and establish a new standard. It was claimed over recent days, via a text message that circulated widely (including to this journalist), that eight players sought a departure.
Insiders from the Bulldogs deny that figure, although conceding that about half that number might be closer to the truth. Nonetheless, it’s clear that those players disinclined to embrace change under coach Cameron Ciraldo’s leadership won’t face opposition if they choose to leave.
Ciraldo isn’t inclined to compromise his strategy to appease the few who resist strenuous efforts. Players will be shown the exit if they are unwilling to cooperate.
Players who decide to stay will need to demonstrate a commitment to the task at hand – no matter the work hours. If duty calls for full-day commitments to the Bulldogs, these players will be expected to fulfil it.
The consensus at Belmore tidily encapsulates the prime problem – a pressing need for a culture shift. Hence, all incoming recruits have been queried on a variety of topics.
Their answers to questions such as their affection for footy, eagerness to participate in intense training, and capability of managing long days will determine their suitability to the Bulldogs‘ expectations.
Responses from those newly joining the club have been promising. But the same cannot be said for the ones being considered for removal, who shied away from probing questions.
Procrastination will not be entertained at the Bulldogs. Demonstrable slackness within the team has had an impact on their performance this season. This calls for a stringent makeover.
Criticism has been levelled at the Bulldogs for their rapid player turnover, but the reality is, a revamp is urgently required. Their defence strategy has been laughable on occasions this season, as exemplified by their humiliating defeat to Manly recently.
The detrimental culture of complaints and recriminations has poisoned the team spirit. The subpar standards and disappointing results evidence the growing unhappiness at the Bulldogs. If necessary actions are not undertaken to rectify their gameplay, the complacency from the current season will likely spill over into the next.
Ciraldo is faced with an uphill battle on his arrival at Canterbury as he attempts a turnaround. The shambles, it seems, far exceeds what was ever envisaged.
Despite the setbacks, an eighth win would reveal a slight betterment over last year’s record. However, any improvement appears to exist solely on paper.