It would be “unfair” of the Bulldogs to sack coach Dean Pay having given him little say over the club’s inferior roster, NRL great Johnathan Thurston says.
Pay on Saturday night urged Canterbury to clarify his future. Long-running speculation that he may be axed will likely come to a head this week at a board meeting.
The Bulldogs lost 26-18 against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday and are last in the NRL with a dismal 1-8 record.
Yet Thurston, a 2004 Bulldogs premiership winner, said that Pay had been given little opportunity to build a competitive team.
“It wasn’t pretty for them at all last night, getting beaten by the Broncos,” Thurston told TODAY on Sunday.
“But their salary cap has been a mess now for a couple of years and from my understanding, Dean Pay has wanted to recruit some players and has been overruled on those decisions.
“Josh Reynolds from the Tigers, he wanted him to come back and for some reason he’s been overruled on that call.
“He (Pay) will face the board this week. I think it’s probably unfair [if he’s sacked]/
“They’ve got a really young squad there. Kieran Foran’s doing his best with what he’s got but no doubt they’re struggling.”
Thurston said that Pay wasn’t blameless for Canterbury’s poor form.
“Their attention to detail isn’t great, so the club’s got some big decisions to make,” Thurston said.
“But I think it would be very unfair if they gave him the sack, given the fact that he doesn’t have much [of a] say on recruitment matters.”
NRL Highlights: Broncos v Bulldogs – Round 9
Pay has been coaching the Bulldogs since 2018. They have twice finished 12th under his control, with what it widely considered to be an uncompetitive roster.
The Bulldogs welcomed England Test prop Luke Thompson to the club last week and he made a decent debut against Brisbane.