The Canterbury Bulldogs are set to announce the departure of Dean Pay as head coach following mounting pressure amid the team’s dismal start to the 2020 season.
According to Sydney Morning Herald reporter Michael Chammas and league great Phil Gould, the Bulldogs are all but certain to have a new coach in 2021.
Speaking on Nine’s 100% Footy, Chammas revealed that Pay’s exit from the club was “a foregone conclusion” and likely to be announced in “the next 24 hours.”
“It’s been a big 18 months for Dean Pay at the club and there has been question marks over his future for a little while,” he said.
“It’s going to come down to financial implications for Canterbury because if they (dismiss) him now, they’re going to have to pay him out. It comes back to whether Dean Pay actually wants to continue coaching as well. Does he sacrifice that money?
“There’s a few decisions to be made, but I think you can expect that he won’t be coaching Canterbury in 2021.”
Gould added that Pay’s departure from the club is likely to be effective immediately.
“I think there will be a big announcement tomorrow and Dean will have coached his last game for the Bulldogs,” he told 100% Footy.
“He took the job on out of a sense of loyalty to the club because they were in a precarious situation.
“There wouldn’t have been too many other established coaches who would have taken on what he did.
“I would think that Dean probably sees the writing on the wall and I’d imagine that this has been his call.”
Gould’s belief that Pay had all but left the club was backed up by Nine’s chief rugby league reporter Danny Weidler, who claimed that Pay had parted ways with the club on Monday night.
“Unless there is a massive backflip it would appear that Dean Pay has coached his last game at the Bulldogs. I’ve been told he has quit,” Weidler tweeted.
The development comes as Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill reportedly informed Penrith Panthers boss Brian Fletcher that the club would be seeking to talk to assistant coach Trent Barrett over a possible move to Canterbury.
“No real surprise but here is confirmation Dogs on the lookout for a coach,” Tweeted Nine’s chief rugby league reporter Danny Weidler.
“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.”
Barrett last coached the Manly Sea Eagles, a stint that ended in an ugly exit saga, before joining Ivan Cleary’s coaching ranks at the Panthers.
Barrett is believed to head a list including Maroons coach Kevin Walters, former Panthers boss Anthony Griffin and ex-NSW mentor Laurie Daley should Canterbury not renew Pay’s contract.
Broncos v Bulldogs Round 9: Presser – Dean Pay
It comes as Pay suggested “it would be useful for everyone” if the Bulldogs board came out and spoke publicly over his future at the club, after Saturday’s loss.
Asked by reporters if he’d like the club to give him an indication over his future, Pay spoke openly.
“That’s up to them. It would be useful for everyone,” he said at the time.
“We can go out into the market and we can look to bolster our recruitment, and that’s what every club wants to do.
“It’s very hard for everyone at the moment, but we will move forward and we will get better.”
Fox Sports’ James Hooper said that Barrett, unlike Pay, would have a full salary cap at his disposal should he land at the Dogs.
“He’s got a $3m chequebook to go into the market, but he has also got factionalism left right and centre,” Hooper told Fox Sports’ NRL 360.
Speculation has been forever rife around the Dogs’ top job since Pay stepped into the coach’s role with the club in a downtrend, making him easy picking for the NRL rumour mill.