Regardless of who won control of the Bulldogs board, the situation at the NRL club is obviously dire. While several position holders at the Dogs have come out and said we are not a club in crisis, their good intentions are probably just as believable as Pinocchio on steroids.
Malcolm Noad’s fallout was just as stellar as his rise to power at the Bulldogs, thrown into the fire during their darkest hour Noad was the cleaner – sent in to save the NRL club from itself. At the time, players were performing well on the field but were out of control off the field. Malcolm Noad seemingly reigned the trouble makers in and obviously some corners haven’t taken too lightly to his iron fist rulings. Hence the situation he finds himself in now.
While the problems at the Dogs are presently in the corridors of power, an inkling of the problems ahead could have probably be traced back to Steve Price leaving his long term club. A smart operator and genuine Rugby League good guy, for Price to walk away from the Bulldogs even for less money should have rung alarm bells all over the place. Price obviously didn’t feel confident staying on board and didn’t just get out of Belmore, he took the first plane out of the country.
Usually it was the Bulldogs who would pickup discards from other NRL teams and turn them into superstars, just take Luke Patten and Willie Tonga in recent times who have excelled at Belmore. But these days, Jonathan Thurston was let go and became the best player in the NRL and now Willie Mason, Mark O’Meley and Brent Sherwin, all Premiership winning players were let go.
While Noad may have a massive target on his head, as the club looks for someone to blame – the real concern should be with the team for 2008. While there are still a few prominent players in the squad, the this is a team devoid of creativity and struggling to keep up with the improvement in other clubs. Whether it stems from the coaching program, a lack of interest from the players or a culture of good times – this could really be a disaster year for the once proud family club.
As Steve Folkes walks the plank in the early season, the power brokers putting pressure on the long term coach before a ball has been kicked – everyone will be watching over their shoulder at Belmore. They were very fortunate to secure Luke Patten and Andrew Ryan as they did, will rumours abounding that Ryan well and truly wanted out.
While the clock might be ticking for several troops on and off the field at the Bulldogs, getting pushed off the Titanic might be the best thing that ever happened to them.