Trent Barrett has reaffirmed his commitment to the Bulldogs despite Phil Gould urging the former NSW playmaker to walk away from his deal because of the “toxic” mess engulfing the club.
Barrett will take over as Canterbury coach next season after signing a three-year deal that sees him replace Dean Pay, who was sacked earlier this year.
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The Bulldogs are last on the ladder and have as many problems off the field as they do on it. The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday an explosive civil war is threatening to tear the club apart, driven by in-fighting between leagues club boss George Coorey and football club chair Lynne Anderson.
There is reportedly also a fractured relationship between CEO Andrew Hill and general manager of football Steve Price.
However, Barrett told the Sydney Morning Herald he is determined to stay true to his word.
“(I am) One hundred per cent committed,” Barrett said. “Andrew Hill and the board have been nothing but supportive and very professional.
“I’m all in and looking forward to it.”
Barrett’s commitment comes after Gould warned him of what he is walking into, the rugby league guru arguing the last thing the inexperienced coach needs after his ugly split from Manly is another club with backroom drama.
“I’m sure that Trent Barrett doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into and if I was associated with Trent Barrett in any way, shape or form I think I’d be advising him to reconsider his decision,” Gould told Nine’s 100% Footy.
“I just think this is going to deteriorate into a real mess in the coming weeks, and I just can’t see a way out.
“I think it’s just too much for him to take on at this time, given what happened to him at Manly, and given that his next NRL appointment is very, very important.
“He’s in a really good club at the moment at the Panthers, he’s got a great role and is doing a tremendous job.
“I’d be nearly inclined to decline it and go back to where he is and just wait a little bit more time because the Bulldogs is an absolute mess. Behind the scenes it is a toxic mess.”
Barrett will see out 2020 as an assistant coach at Penrith, where he has helped transform the Panthers’ attack and guide them to the top of the table.