‘Losing his power’: Gus rumours swirl as Dogs boss accused of ‘moving in’ on Ciraldo

‘Losing his power’: Gus rumours swirl as Dogs boss accused of ‘moving in’ on Ciraldo
  • PublishedApril 4, 2024

Paul Kent has lifted the lid on rumours Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould has been moving to take over from head coach Cameron Ciraldo.

Speaking on NRL360 on Tuesday night, Kent explained how the power dynamic could be shifting at Belmore Oval after a difficult start to the season which has left the Bulldogs languishing in 14th place on the NRL ladder.

“The Bulldogs, I know we’ve put Gould in the frame, the talk around Canterbury is that Gould has already started to move in and take over,” Kent said.

“That he’s started to pick the team around Ciraldo, that Ciraldo is losing his power there. I’ve been assured that’s not the case and that Ciraldo is getting his team right.

“But the thing about it is with Gould, we’ve only got to go back 18 months and Gould is telling everyone that Trent Barrett is going to be there long after he’s gone.

“Six weeks later Gould is still there and Barrett is gone, that’s the issue, but it’s just more gossip.”

Gus Gould

Kent also wrote in his Daily Telegraph column that Ciraldo and Gould reportedly don’t agree on the club’s best 17 most weeks, claiming the rugby league supremo’s power is “absolute”.

“How often Gould and Ciraldo agree on selections at Canterbury approximates to zero,” Kent wrote.

“Gould’s Bulldogs team looks very different to Ciraldo’s most weeks but the coach is having his way.”

It follows a familiar pattern for Gould who was was reported to have started taking over the running of training sessions while Trent Barrett was coach. Gould later declared Barrett would be at the club long after his tenure expired, but he was ultimately sacked and shown the door only six weeks later.

The Australian’s Brent Read said Gould needs to focus on recruitment instead of picking a team he believes should run out on the park.

“I really hope that’s not the case because I think Cam Ciraldo is doing a really good job with that footy club, I had my doubts last year,” Read said on NRL360.

“But they are getting better and you can see they are getting better, Gus should focus on finding a halfback and a front rower.

“He should leave the coach alone and let him do his job…. I’d question their recruitment, and that’s Gus. Go and get a halfback, go and get a front rower.

“Fix your team up so your coach has a chance, at the moment I don’t think he’s giving Cameron much chance to win footy games.”

The Bulldogs have only won a single game this year from four appearances and face a tough assignment in the coming weeks, clashing with the Roosters and Storm.

Kent, meanwhile, highlighted the club’s desperate need for a halfback, with Drew Hutchison’s form in the No.7 coming under the microscope.

“Gould’s recruitment and the lack of a natural playmaking half, with former Roosters utility Drew Hutchison in the job, are being blamed for their shortcomings,” Kent wrote.

“It might be a case of Dogs fans and Gould haters going off too early, though.

“Last season under Ciraldo, for the first time, the Dogs won three from their first five and Bulldogs’ fans were calling for overtime shifts to pay for finals tickets.

“The Bulldogs are 1-3 this season but are clearly better than last year.”


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