Although it’s already June, we’re only three rounds into the 2020 NRL season yet we’re hearing rumours of two coaches being sacked without the opening “month”.
Paul McGregor looks at long odds to stay at the helm of the Dragons after a series of disappointing seasons, and truthfully I can see some reasoning for that. He has overseen a supremely talented roster yet has not delivered on their promise.
Across Sydney however, I cannot believe that Bulldogs coach Dean Pay is supposedly on the chopping block.
Make no mistake, this current Bulldogs side is a shell of the once proud sides that proceeded it. They’re at long odds in almost every game they enter and apart from fixtures against fellow strugglers the Dragos, Titans and Warriors, I don’t know where their wins come from this season.
That said, it’s hardly fair to place blame on Dean Pay. He inherited a hugely uneven squad and an even worse salary cap position.
Sacking Dean Pay fixes nothing. The incoming coach inherits exactly the same issues on and off the field, yet faces the task of rebuilding yet again.
With the Dogs having worked hard to rise from the issues brought about by Des Hasler and his ridiculous back ended contracts, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
The last thing the club needs it to start again at the expense of yet another loved member of the club.
The reports linking Pay to being axed mention members and fans have become disheartened with being 0 from 3 to start the season.
Have those members and fans seen the squad Pay has been at his disposal?
With all due respect to the Dogs squad right now, it is not up to NRL standard. Apart from maybe the Titans, it is arguably the weakest in the competition.
I’m not poking fun here, these are generally accepted facts.
Their best and highly paid player in Kieran Foran has only managed 26 games since his club debut in 2018. This isn’t taking into account the multiple games he was unable to complete due to injury.
That was a Des Hasler decision.
There’s also reports that the club are still paying players no longer at the club. If this is true this is YEARS after the Dogs initial cap issues. Again, hardly of Dean Pay’s making.
Yes he oversaw the pre-season scandal that saw two of his most talented young players have their contracts torn up, but I guarantee he wasn’t the one sitting beside each player egging them on.
The Dogs are supposed armed with a massive war chest to throw millions of dollars at the elite talent across the competition over the next two years.
Awesome, given the fact that Pay has overseen two seasons where his hands were almost completely tied salary cap wise, he has earned the right to build his own side and chase results.
Unless Craig Bellamy puts his hand up tomorrow for the job I wouldn’t be moving Pay on.
The Titans are on their third coach in a few seasons after handing dud rosters to inexperienced coaches with hopes that they’ll deliver overnight fixes.
The Dogs have their fair share of talent, but there’s no way even the biggest fan can state that their side matches up with the heavyweights. Jackson, Hopoate and DWZ are all supremely talented while young Lewis and Marshall King have potential in spades, but you could drop Cooper Cronk into that line up and they’re not playing finals footy this season.
I simply don’t see what axing Dean Pay achieves.
Has he proven that he can’t handle recruitment? From memory the only real decision he’s overseen has been DWZ’s signing from Penrith, which I still rate highly.
The former Kiwi fullback and captain has had his moments but overall that’s a clever, long-term signing without having to blow the budget.
We’ve recently seen the Bulldogs linked to literal millions of dollars worth of talent. From the Turbo brothers to Xerri (pre-suspension) to Latrell Mitchell. You name a player and they’ve been linked to the Dogs.
Why should a rookie coach come in with a new suit and have a monopoly money to throw around to try and buy instant success?
Hint: it won’t work!
Pay oversaw some brilliant results last year. His side finished the season as one of the form teams of the competition after wracking up a series of upset wins.
You’re telling me that three losses, to more fancied sides, after a horror off-season and heavy disrupted opening three rounds is grounds to sack a club legend?
This is a side that pushed title favourites the Eels all the way in round one.
Seriously, the Bulldogs decision makers need to cop some grief for their decisions rather than sacking coaches and hoping for the best.
Pay may not be the best man moving forward but who is currently looking for a job that could do any better?
Media has linked the club to Phil Gould and Shane Flanagan. A man who hasn’t coached in how long and a currently suspended head coach!? Great stocks.
Unless they have Geoff Toovey ready to put pen to paper, I would stick by their coach and let him build the side he wants.
Sack Pay and it’s back to square one. I’m sure an already impatient fan base will love the thought of throwing out two years of work to start yet another rebuild!