'Sad to see': Brutal coaching call stuns Bulldogs flyer

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
Pictured in the centre, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is surrounded by Bulldogs teammates.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak says news of a Bulldogs coaching staff clean-out is tough to take. Pic: Getty

Canterbury star Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was saddened to learn of the Bulldogs' plans for a full-blown coaching clean-out at season's end but says the players must focus on winning NRL games again.

The last-placed Dogs have set a goal of winning their remaining seven matches, starting with Sunday's clash against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval, and Watene-Zelezniak is adamant that's achievable.

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And maybe that's the only scenario that can save interim coach Steve Georgallis, high-performance manager Tony Ayoub, strength and conditioning coach Harry Harris, former Bulldogs forward and trainer Tony Grimaldi and skills coach Steve James.

All five heads are said to be on the chopping block as part of a dramatic overhaul by incoming coach Trent Barrett.

Channel Nine's chief league reporter Danny Weidler revealed news of the Bulldogs clean-out in a Twitter post on Wednesday evening.

Fox Sports reporter James Hooper also substantiated the claims on NRL 360 on Wednesday night.

“The Bulldogs will make a significant announcement in terms of their football operation staff for next year,” Hooper said.

“I don’t think Steve Georgallis, Tony Grimaldi, Tony Ayoub and Harry Harris — all those members of the football staff will be told they’ll be finishing up at the end of the season.”

Daily Telegraph journalist Paul Kent said he was unimpressed by the reports, saying the Bulldogs coaching staff deserved better for their years of service to the club.

“I think that’s an issue for Canterbury,” Kent said.

“Canterbury are trying to promote themselves from what they’ve been doing over the past few days, and these guys have been mainstays of the club.

“They’re quality operators … these guys, they’re great clubmen.”

Coaching staff ‘like family’ for Dogs players

At training on Thursday, Watene-Zelezniak admitted that reports about the proposed clean-out were difficult to accept.

"I just found out before. I don't know the full story and the logistics," Watene-Zelezniak said.

"They're really good people, they are like family too, so it's sad to see them go.

"But I don't know everything that's going on."

Watene-Zelezniak's bigger concern is adjusting to the wing again after a backline reshuffle that resulted in Nick Meaney claiming the No.1 jumper.

Seen here, Bulldogs players look solemn during their NRL match against the Broncos.
The Bulldogs are bottom of the ladder after registering just two wins in 2020. Pic: Getty

"It's a bit hard to get used to a position when you're changing a lot but when a team's not going well, there's times when you've just got to try things," Watene-Zelezniak said.

"I just do my part for the team wherever I can and whatever the coach says, I've just got to take on board and give 100 per cent to the team.

"Fullback's always been my preferred position but wherever the coaches need me, I'll happily play and give my best.

"I just want to win."

The Bulldogs won five of their last six games from a similar position last year and insist collecting the wooden spoon hasn't been discussed.

with Yahoo Sport staff