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JT roasts Bulldogs' coach search

Wide World of Sports logo Wide World of Sports 16/07/2020 Marc Churches

NRL legend Johnathan Thurston has urged the Canterbury Bulldogs to consider a more experienced coach following the departure of Dean Pay earlier this week.

After intense scrutiny due to disappointing results on the field, Pay, who took over the head coaching role from Des Hasler in 2018, announced this week he would officially step down from his role at the Bulldogs.

Penrith assistant coach Trent Barrett is poised to take over the head coaching duties on a long-term deal

Thurston, who was part of the 2004 Canterbury premiership-winning side, conceded the club has since lost its "aura" and hasn't recovered since Hasler departed.

Johnathan Thurston wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera © Getty Johnathan Thurston

"All through the 80s, the 90s, and the early 2000s the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs were a powerhouse club. They were the family club as they were known back then," Thurston told Wide World of Sports' 2GB radio.

"They've certainly lost that aura about themselves probably over the last decade.


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"I think Des Hasler had something to do with that, they just never recovered from when he left."

Bulldogs assistant coach Steve Georgallis is currently the man in charge as the club looks for Pay's permanent replacement.

a man holding a sign: Head coach Dean Pay and the Canterbury Bulldogs have parted ways. © Provided by Wide World of Sports Head coach Dean Pay and the Canterbury Bulldogs have parted ways.

With Barrett poised as a potential candidate who would likely sign a deal that commences at the end of the 2020 season, Thurston urged the club to consider a candidate with more experience.

The North Queensland Cowboys great said the club needs a coach with a "hard edge" approach while making note of South Sydney's Wayne Bennett and Melbourne Storm's Craig Bellamy.

"It'll be extremely difficult for an assistant at another club that's going to be employed the following to recruit players and keep one eye on the Panthers and the other one on the Bulldogs," Thurston said.

"It's a tricky situation but I don't know that would be the right decision in my opinion.

"I'd be going after someone that's got a hard edge about him, that's got a lot of experience - a Wayne Bennett or Craig Bellamy type that can rule the roost with an iron fist, and get that club back to the glory days."

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