Bulldogs boss Phil Gould defends handling of Cameron Ciraldo appointment

Canterbury boss Phil Gould has defended the club’s handling of the coaching appointment despite months of mixed messages surrounding the role.

Cameron Ciraldo was officially unveiled as the new Bulldogs coach, who resigned from the Tigers job and signed a five-year deal to join Belmore.

Gould had previously said the job was for an “experienced coach” – but has handed a mega contract to a rookie coach at Ciraldo instead.

Speaking of 100% footy On Monday night, Gould admitted keeping Ciraldo’s appointment secret was vital, hitting back at criticism of the club’s tactics and claims of sabotaging the Tigers.

“You don’t know anything about the process that we went through,” he said.

“Neither do I have an obligation to answer that question, nor to answer your question, nor to respond to any of the things I have said over the past few months, all of which were true at this point.

“It’s exciting for Cameron and it’s exciting for our club. Keep that in mind with regard to Cameron and Panthers because he has a big job to do there for the rest of the season.

“This is the next step in his coaching career and I believe he will become a career coach. It’s a very important building block for what we want to build at the Bulldogs.

“He was an integral part of the club’s success. He’s probably had better training than most coaches who come into this role.”

Ciraldo has served as both an assistant and caretaker coach with the Panthers for the past five years and has been credited for many of their accomplishments over the past two seasons.

The 37-year-old has been in high demand in recent years and Gould believes it’s the right move for all parties.

“He’s done that on a number of occasions and he’s been very close with the head coach out there in Ivan Cleary for a number of years,” Gould said.

“He was much closer in and around this than many assistant coaches were during their tenure. Also remember – he coaches the best club in the league. He was an essential part [of their success].

“We’re starting a long journey with the Bulldogs, it’s going to be a long time before we get going. We’ve lost the pace in a lot of areas and we’re at the bottom of the ladder and we’ve been for five years.

“Our goal is that once the journey is complete, the Bulldogs are never in that position again. They had a terrible time and the fans were extremely frustrated.

“The club has changed a lot – we are looking for a long period of stability, a long period of growth and a long period of development.”

Mick Potter will remain in charge of the Bulldogs for the remainder of 2022, with early signs he will remain as an assistant next year.

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