Reports Canterbury Bulldogs coach Dean Pay ‘has quit’, Trent Barrett frontrunner to take over

The Canterbury Bulldogs are reportedly close to revealing their plans for the 2021 season after coach Dean Pays side stayed cemented to the bottom of the ladder.But on Monday night, reports the club legend had coached his last game for the club in a stunning turn of events.
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After a crazy day for the Bulldogs with Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor winning their deregistration appeal over the Port Macquarie school sex scandal in March, Fox Sports’ James Hooper reported the Warriors, Dragons and Raiders have been chasing New Zealand international back rower Harawira-Naera, who is “fuming at the Bulldogs’ initial decision to tear up his contract”.
While the official word of parting ways with Pay hasn’t been handed down, it’s been speculated for weeks and following a thrashing at the hands of the equally under fire Brisbane Broncos on the weekend, the Bulldogs’ coaching situation has been laid bare.
Fox Sports reporter James Hooper told Fox League’s NRL 360 said Pay had been told that the “Bulldogs were on the lookout for a new coach from next season” as well as the Canterbury CEO Andrew Hill reaching out to his Penrith counterpart Brian Fletcher to say “they would be wanting to speak to Trent Barrett about coming in and attempting to rebuild the Bulldogs at Belmore”.
This was corroborated by Nine journalist Danny Weidler, who tweeted “No real surprise but here is confirmation Dogs on the lookout for a coach. Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill informed Panthers boss Brian Fletcher today they would be seeking to talk to Trent Barrett about coaching the club as part of their hunt.”
Weilder also revealed that “unless there was a massive backflip” Pay had reportedly quit on Monday night.
Speaking on Channel 9’s 100% Footy, journalist Michael Chammas said “it was a foregone conclusion” that Pay would be stood aside at the end the season, while Phil Gould said
“I know Dean really well, he took the job on out of a sense of loyalty to the club because they were in a precarious situation,” he said. “There wouldn’t have been too many other established coaches taking on what he did and he’s stuck it out through loyalty to the club and his love of the players and I’m sure he’s willing to battle on for as long as it takes but I think Michael is more close to the mark than he thinks. I think there will be a big announcement in the morning and Dean may well have coached his last game for the Bulldogs.”
It comes after Pay was asked post-match after the loss to the Broncos whether he’d like an indication about his future, Pay revealed he was as uncertain as everyone else in the room.
“That‘s up to them. It would be useful for everyone,” he said.
“We can go out into the market and we can look to bolster our recruitment, and that‘s what every club wants to do.
“There‘s some kids in there already that are starting to get some games under their belt and they will be better players going forward. It‘s very hard for everyone at the moment, but we will move forward and we will get better.”
Daily Telegraph journalist Phil Rothfield revealed that Barrett had been allowed to talk to Canterbury about the job.
“Greg Alexander, who works at Fox and is an influential director at Penrith has basically given Barrett permission to talk to them,” Rothfield revealed.
Paul Kent said Pay was strong on standing the players down and was supported at the time but the tune has changed for the team running 16th.
“They at the bottom of the table, the club have just abandoned Dean Pay,” he said.
“They haven’t replaced the two players he lost right on the eve of the season, now he sits there with one win from the season, and he gets greeted with the news ‘the players are back Deano and we’re now going to the market and officially tell you we’re looking for someone else’. It’s just rotten what they’ve done.”
Ben Ikin also pointed out the money that the new coach would have at his disposal that wasn’t afforded Pay this season for short term fixes including bringing prodigal son Josh Reynolds back to the club from the Wests’ Tigers.
Barrett’s name has been the main one that’s been put forward having “reinvigorated” the Panthers’ attack with the side suffering just one loss this season, according to Kent.
Rothfield also said Barrett was influential in the development of Daly Cherry-Evans at Manly to the Queensland and Australian halfback and was working the same magic with Panthers halves Nathan Cleary, Matt Burton and Jerome Luai this season.
But Kent’s concern is that he won’t get what he needs at the club, despite a reported $3 million war chest.
“There’s no doubt he understands his footy, my concern is that when he didn’t have the infrastructure around him at Manly, he struggled, and I don’t think he’s really going to get it at Canterbury,” he said.
Ikin agreed and said he probably needs an experienced general manager of football to help.
The discussion comes after Phil Gould lashed the Bulldogs for not giving their coach a clear idea of what’s going on.
“I’ve got no idea the way the Bulldogs are thinking at the moment, I just know that they probably need – for everybody’s sake there – to make a decision on what it looks like for next year,” Gould said told Channel 9’s Wide World Of Sports.
“There’s players coming off contract, there are players considering offers from other clubs, there are young fellas in the club wondering where their future lies, there’ll be staff and coaches wondering what they’re doing.
“And it’s not a good environment. I’ve seen this plenty of times over the years. You can’t have your side functioning in that sort of environment.
“They’re already looking towards next year, they’re not going to make the eight this season. They’ve got to use the rest of this year as a run-up into next year’s preparation and getting ready for next year.
“They’ve just got to turn around and make some decisions and put everyone’s mind (at ease). I don’t care what those decisions are, I’ve got no idea what they might be … but they’ve got to make some decisions so that everyone knows where they’re going and they can draw a line in the sand and say, ‘all right, well, from tomorrow we’re working towards next year, this is who we’re going with and what we’ve got to do’.”