Paul Gallen has dissed the belief the Bulldogs were impressive in their recruitment for this season, labelling Canterbury’s buys “a motley crew” and revealing he laughed at top-eight aspirations of club fans.
A view held by many amid the Bulldogs’ atrocious start to the season, resulting in the exit of coach Trent Barrett on Sunday night, is Canterbury should be performing better given its new-look roster.
The embattled club added Matt Burton, Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Dufty, Tevita Pangai Junior, Paul Vaughan, Braidon Burns and Brent Naden to its stocks for 2022, but it’s reeling in last on the ladder with just two wins from 10 games.
In a surprise twist to the Bulldogs’ tumultuous week, Naden on Tuesday quit the club and signed with Wests Tigers, who he could run out for in a clash with Canterbury on Friday night.
Gallen spoke highly of two Canterbury recruitment calls but scoffed at the Bulldogs’ overall 2022 buying spree.
“I don’t think their recruitment’s been that good. I really don’t. I think they recruited two stars,” Gallen said on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio.
“Josh Addo-Carr is a superstar, great finishing winger. But he’s a winger.
“The other bloke (is) Matt Burton. He’s a quiet, young, introverted kid. He’s pretty quiet, he’s a pretty quiet type of bloke. He had to go in there and try to lead that team around the park, and I think it was a big ask for a bloke who got Dally M centre of the year last year and came across from a premiership-winning side where he wasn’t the leader of the team, he wasn’t the five-eighth, he wasn’t the halfback steering the team around the park. And you’ve got to remember he’s a five-eighth (at the Bulldogs); it’s not his job to steer the team around the park.
“All those other signings they got – it was a bit of a motley crew, to be honest. There was no tug-of-war between clubs to try to get them. They were basically sacked or let go by their other club and then signed.”
In good news for Bulldogs fans, the managers of Kikau and Mahoney provided a statement to Nine reaffirming their commitment to the club despite the departure of Barrett.
Barrett worked with Kikau, as well as Burton and Naden, in his time as a Penrith assistant coach.
“All pre-season I said to Canterbury fans, ‘You are no hope, no hope’,” Gallen added on 2GB radio.
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“There was a fair bit of excitement about them possibly pushing their way towards the top eight – and I laughed at them. There was no way they were going to be anywhere near the top eight.
“I didn’t think they’d be in the position they’re in at the moment, I didn’t think they’d be fighting it out for the wooden spoon; I thought they would finish around 11th or 12th – somewhere around there. But they’re going ordinary at the moment.
“Hopefully this week you’ll see a response from the players. Their coach has just been sacked. Surely, surely they’ll see a response now.”
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