Early input from next Bulldogs CEO
Future Canterbury CEO Andrew Hill has revealed he's been working with the club from afar while continuing his role as Rugby League World Cup boss.
The former Parramatta general manager is set to officially join the Bulldogs in December when the tournament comes to a close, having only a weekend away from the game before commencing the new position vacated by former chief executive Raelene Castle.
But with the Belmore-based club undergoing a series of changes in the coaching ranks and player recruitment of late, Hill has been playing a part in the decision-making along with chairman Ray Dib and the current Bulldogs board.
"I'm obviously in regular contact with the club and have been part of some recent decisions, but very focused on the World Cup," Hill said.
"I want to thank Ray and the board for the support."
The sacking of Des Hasler and appointment of new coach Dean Pay was one of the processes Hill had input in, while player management – in particular the future of Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa – remained a decision for the coaching staff.
Lichaa was set to depart the club under Hasler, but is now set to extend his stay at Belmore after a strong finish to the NRL season.
"I worked with the board and played a role [in Pay's appointment] but again that's now been dealt with. [Dean] is enjoying time in Fiji on leave," Hill said.
"[In regards to Lichaa], the final details are still to be worked through, what's pleasing is it looks like he wants to stay and the club will be able to come to some agreement with him.
"The club will manage those finer details."
Hill was pleased with the amount of focus the World Cup had received since the NRL Grand Final and with the quality of talent across the tournament's 14 teams.
"We have 28 matches and a big-name player in every one of those," Hill said.
"When we stop and think of the growth in international rugby league – that's what we've been after. The [international eligibility] rule changes have allowed that to happen.
"While everyone may not agree with the process, for fans who want to come to a game, there is a real opportunity to come see the best."
Equal pay within the tournament was discussed heavily in NRL.com's Roundtable last week, with the question being asked why Australian captain Cameron Smith deserved to earn more than PNG Kumuls skipper David Mead for the five-week competition.
Hill confirmed players were financially being treated equally from a tournament perspective.
"They get paid the same per day and same benefits," he said.
"What each country does for their payments to players is not a matter for the tournament but for each of the individual countries.
"This is something not unique to rugby league and I'm not sure of any sport that pay the same players representation.
"We've seen players walk away from a tier one which is a significant amount of money to play for their country and represent their family for no real monetary benefits.
"I'm not so sure money is the biggest issue when something as big as the World Cup comes around. I'm sure a number of stakeholders will continue to look at it."