Trent Barrett is the first coaching casual of the 2022 NRL season, dropping his post 10 games in the campaign.
His departure leaves the Bulldogs and their fans with lots of questions.
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Why did Barrett leave so suddenly?
The bells rang loudly after a 16-6 loss to Newcastle on Friday night, where the Bulldogs struggled to hold the ball and fired their own shots against the team, which was basically sitting at the bottom of the stairs.
The team that lost that game was going to face a lot of pressure in the days to come and Barrett finally decided that this was the last straw of his tenure at the club.
They stunned the Roosters with a 16-12 win a fortnight ago, but the team’s overall record in recent seasons has been extremely poor.
Under Barrett’s watch, the Dogs won five of 34 games for a 15 percent record. This, simply, is unacceptable in any league, let alone the NRL.
In his Sydney Morning Herald column on Sunday, Danny Weidler of Nine revealed that the Canterbury board is increasingly concerned about field performance under Barrett.
A few hours later an extraordinary meeting was called on Monday.
Barrett – reading the writing on the wall – punched them and handed over his resignation letter instead of pushing it out the door.
Phil Gould opened the “raw” phone call he received on Monday and a tough weekend before Barrett’s decision.
Is his NRL coaching career over?
Barrett is only 44 and so it would be foolish for him to be the head coach of any club again.
However, it is fair to say that his stock has retreated since joining Belmore last year. They weren’t that high before, either.
In his three seasons as head coach of Manley, he has won 39.7 percent of his games in 29 games. He also quit that job, leaving in 2018 with two years left on his contract.
Barrett’s departure from Brookwell was a mess. He fell out with the club’s hierarchy, who were willing to pay him until he actually let Des Hasler become the team’s coach – a humiliating situation for any self-respecting person.
Many people were ready to accept the excuse for his time in Manly. But not many of these can be offered for his Bulldogs failure.
Overall he has won just 32 percent of the games in four and a half seasons as the top dog of an NRL team. It is unlikely to attract an unprepared resume and high-profile job offers.
Phil Gould was asked if he could see Barrett succeed as head coach in the future.
“I do, I do honestly,” Gold said.
“He’s just as good as the young coaches that we’ve seen come through the system. He’s probably in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Where Barrett recently succeeded as assistant coach at Penrith, he served as the offensive head of Evan Cleary when the Panthers fell one win short of the 2020 Premiership.
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Barrett Penrith is honored for his work, and it would not surprise anyone if another NRL club asked him to come on board and improve the attack. There are some teams who can deal with it directly.
Who can replace him with bulldogs?
There is no shortage of candidates who can look forward to Canterbury.
“They’re throwing a thousand names,” Gold told the media Monday.
“The phone is hot, there are a lot of applicants. We just have to go through the rest of this season. We really have to get through this week, and then things get a little clearer.”
Top name that is associated with the role of zero head coach Cameron Ciraldo.
He was Evan Cleary’s assistant coach in Penrith and he was highly respected around the game. He worked with Barrett before he started working on Barrett’s Bulldogs.
Jason Royles Another long-term assistant coach who is considered to be more ready to go for a big job.
He worked under Craig Bellamy at Storm, then with the England rugby team under Eddie Jones and now with the Roosters under another supercoach Trent Robinson. There is nothing better than being a beginner.
Shane Flanagan, Paul GreenAnd John Morris The former NRL head coach is currently waiting in the wings, and Canterbury will consider.
Flanagan led Cronulla to the 2016 Premiership, where Green led North Queensland to the 2015 title. The former shark has played various assistant coaches since being banned by the NRL for his role in the drug scandal, when Green was coach in Queensland last year, before resigning behind a disastrous State of Origin campaign.
Morris did a reasonable job coaching the Sharks before dropping out of the season in the middle of last year.
A name with which the Assyrians may not be so familiar Christian Wolf. He was an assistant coach at the Knights, but also coached the Tongan national team and is currently in charge of St. Helens in the Super League.
Wolff is rumored to be leaving England to take a chance in Australia next year.
What does the new coach need to do?
In short, the new coach has to fix the terrible attack of Canterbury.
It was worse under Des Hasler, then worse under Dean Pay, and Barrett was brought in to turn it around but failed.
The Bulldogs have been the worst attacking team in the competition for three years in a row, in terms of total score points but also in terms of football imagination.
Matt Burton’s appointment was smart and he has shown somewhat better form this season. But even then the team got only 96 points in 10 matches.
It is widely agreed that the Bulldogs lack a quality halfback who can run the team on the field, then make points at the end of the set. The appointment of Adam Reynolds of Brisbane this year is a testament to the quality No. 7 that can make a difference.
Instead the Bulldogs have gone to the market and spent big dollars on the outside – those who create opportunities don’t help much without a playmaker inside.
The problem is twofold now – there aren’t many experienced halfbacks on the market, and even if they were, the Bulldogs are no longer a destination club.
The new coach will have to get the best out of the squad he inherited from Barrett. There are possibilities, and some young talents are desperate for success.
Now they need someone who can show them how to win.
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