Phil Gould, the head of football, will spearhead an all-encompassing review of the Canterbury Bulldogs as Coach Cameron Ciraldo fights to prove his worth amid the turmoil that has plagued the Brisbane team.
In light of last week’s dramatic events at Belmore, Ciraldo assured fans and critics alike that a thorough review is in place, spearheaded by team heavy-hitter, Gould. This comes as the Bulldogs aim to rewrite the team’s narrative and rise to their former glory in the 2024 season.
The Bulldogs, currently at a dismal 7-16, face the grim possibility of ending third-last if they fail to conquer the Titans. This grim season marks seven consecutive years of the Bulldogs missing the finals – their direst slump in more than 60 years of play.
Unfortunately, Ciraldo’s inaugural year has been marred by catastrophe.
Despite earlier speculation that the Bulldogs could be a strong contender in the finals, the team has had a bleak run with only seven wins, a pitiful defence, and embroiling legal drama following a player’s departure due to mental health concerns.
The Bulldogs‘ power players, however, have shown faith in Ciraldo by offering him a supporting five-year deal. Unlike former Broncos coach Anthony Seibold, dismissed after two seasons into a similar contract, Ciraldo insists he can pull the Bulldogs out of their slump.
Ciraldo expressed his confidence, attributing it to the solid team he has surrounding him, the club’s direction, and the systems already in place. He acknowledged the effort required from the entire organisation to turn things around, and he is ready to lead the charge.
Gould’s impactful presence at Belmore ensures no decisions are made without his input.
Despite Gould’s divided reputation, his track record stands, having led both Canterbury and Penrith to successful seasons in the past.
With the eyes of fans and critics alike on his every move, Gould is under increasing pressure to dissect what’s going wrong within the Bulldogs and identify actionable solutions.
Ciraldo shared his plan to revive Canterbury’s legendary ‘Dogs of War’.
The team’s defence has been consistently and undeniably poor this season.
Should they concede 48 points against the Titans, although unlikely but still a possibility, they would surpass Steve Folkes’ 2008 squad as Canterbury’s weakest line of defence.
Ciraldo, affected by these figures, asserts it’s time for change. He aims to rebuild the Bulldogs‘ solid defence to match that of the 80s and 90s and utilise this Sunday’s game as a launching pad into a disciplined and ruthless 2024.
Many believe Ciraldo is getting a harsh induction as a rookie NRL coach.
An exclusive report last week highlighted a peculiar incident wherein a Canterbury insider manipulated quotes attributed to Knights players to provoke the Bulldogs team before their match against Newcastle the fortnight prior.
However, Ciraldo sidestepped comments on the issue.
Ciraldo holds faith that the upcoming recruits – Steve Crichton, Blake Taaffe and Jaeman Salmon – will transition the team towards finals credibility in the coming season. He also sees promise in Sexton as a competent long-term halfback for Canterbury.
“There’s some good signs for the future,” Ciraldo said. Ciraldo was eager to finish the current season on a strong note, optimistically looking towards the Bulldogs‘ final match against the Titans this weekend as a way to pave the path towards next year.