A few weeks before the sudden resignation of the coach, Phil Gold was “worried” about Trent Barrett’s well-being.
And Canterbury captain Josh Jackson launched an emotional defense that he said was the “best coach” in the NRL for over a decade.
Barrett stepped down on Sunday night after the Bulldogs started the NRL season 2-8. Newcastle had the last nail in his coffin at 16-6 in the magic round.
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And when Gold said he never wanted the coach to leave the club, he knew the job pressure was too much on the 44-year-old.
“I think it’s probably better than that,” Gold told Wide World of Sports. Six tackles with gas Podcast
“I’ve been very worried about him for the last few weeks, his mental state.”
Jackson said Barrett was “quite upset” when he contacted him on Monday after the Bulldogs broke the news to the players.
The captain planned to sue his coach at Monday’s board meeting and reiterate the support of the playing group.
“He’s a great coach and I really want to make it clear that he has our full support,” said Jackson.
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“Personally, he was great for me. I think he’s a great coach – he’s probably the best coach I’ve ever had.
“He’s a good coach, I’ve gone through all his qualities before but he’s a great coach.
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“I hope he doesn’t give up and I hope he goes ahead because he’s got a lot of value to add to Foti and various companies.”
In his podcast, Gold went deep into the chaotic 48-hour chase that led Barrett to resign.
The Bulldogs lost to the Knights to start the magic round on Friday, kickstarting an emotional rollercoaster for the gunman.
“That game on Friday night, after the game, it took its toll. The next morning we see him again, I see him with Captain, Josh Jackson. He has gone through some ups and downs with it,” Gold said.
“He contacted me again on Sunday morning and he was really positive – he prepared the program for the week, changed a few things about training. Then he called and said he was going to make some changes to the team.
“He was sorted out on Sunday morning, then on Sunday afternoon there was a (media) report that the board was meeting to discuss … which was a rather rhetorical explanation of what happened with that meeting – it was a subdivision that the board met fairly regularly. By
“Then something happened on Sunday night, Sunday afternoon, and after I finished broadcasting Channel 9 … I got a call from his manager, who said he was going to pull the pin.
“I left Suncorp Stadium, jumped into my car, called him … he was somehow struggling to talk and let me know what he wanted to say.
“I was dragged into an alley, and sat there for an hour as he discussed his frustration, his heart pounding.
“He came to the conclusion, ‘I can’t see my way, I don’t know how I’m going to fix it.’ . “
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