Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill has 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.
The news comes as speculation over the Dogs top job ramped up following the club’s disappointing loss to the Broncos on Saturday which prompted current coach Dean Pay to urge upper-management to make a call on his future.
“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.
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.