‘They did us a favour’: Final insult in Bulldogs brawl
NEWLY-appointed Bulldogs director Paul Dunn has given ousted chairman Ray Dib a backhanded compliment on his way out of Belmore, saying the decisions made in the last few months have given the newly-elected board a headstart on the rebuild of the club.
Dunn was a member of the Reform ticket that swept to power in the Canterbury football club elections held on Sunday and will likely see the highly-respected Lynne Anderson take over from Dib as chair of the new-look board.
Club legend Steve Mortimer was the only member of the previous board to retain a position alongside newly elected board representatives, including Bulldogs greats such as Dunn, Chris Anderson and Steve Price along with Lynne Anderson, John Ballesty and John Khoury.
The Reform ticket based their campaign on rectifying what they saw as the deterioration of the Bulldogs' values under the former board and coach Des Hasler - the decisions made by Dib's board in recent months too late to save their positions but put the club on the direction it needs to go, according to Dunn.
"They've done us a favour by hiring Dean Pay," Dunn told Big Sports Breakfast radio of the messy sacking of Hasler and subsequent hiring of Pay as head coach.
"Dean's obviously a Bulldogs legend and a lot of the things they've instituted in the last three months are things that we would have done naturally anyway.
"I think we're well on the way to where we need to be.
"In lots of ways some of the things that the previous board had done leading up to this election … and a lot of them were I think cosmetic on their behalf.
"The question John Ballesty asked three weeks ago was whether if there wasn't an election do you think they would have sacked Des Hasler?"
The daughter of legendary club figurehead, the late Peter Moore, Lynne Anderson said that it was crucial the anger expressed by fans and members was addressed.
"The feeling we got from members is that the club had lost its way in recent years," Anderson told Wide World of Sports on Monday.
"Dad always said to me 'The fans aren't fools, don't treat them like they are'.
"We could see the fans weren't happy with the old board and wanted change and that is what we are offering them."
Throughout the pre-season Bulldogs players have spoken in glowing terms about the atmosphere that Pay has created since taking charge but Dunn remains realistic about the task ahead of the team in 2018.
"If you look at clubs like St George and Newcastle where they've been left in the last few years, it's taken them a while to rebound from where they were," Dunn said.
"In a way, while we're not that bad, it's going to take a while to get back on track.
"It's Dean's first year as a head coach, that's going to be a challenge for him.
"We've got a really tough draw, the first 11 games we play all the top teams and the Roosters and Penrith twice.
"It's going to be a difficult start to his career but I believe with the way he's got his players thinking and what I've heard about how they're training it's going to be an exciting year for Bulldogs supporters."
As for the long-term vision of the new board, Dunn said they must first investigate the true nature of the club's salary cap position that caused such instability among the players at the conclusion of the 2017 season.
"We want to do a full review of what's going on at the club just to get a really good understanding and then what changes we need to make," said Dunn, who played 100 of his 255 career first grade games at Canterbury.
"It's going to take a while. We've still got to fix up the salary cap.
"While they say we are salary cap compliant there are issues with back-ended contracts that need to be fixed, there's building some loyalty with the players.
"The fact that those guys were all shopped around at the back-end of last year, that's not what we thought was the Bulldogs way to operate.
"We need to re-instil those values and get everybody back on board with them."