New Bulldogs ticket backs coach Dean Pay
The new ticket wanting to take over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs boardroom has assured fans Dean Pay's job is safe and there won't be any distraction for players as they prepare for the season.
Lynne Anderson, who is the head of the new ticket, has spoken with Pay and new CEO Andrew Hill, who was the World Cup chief executive last year.
"Clearly, we know Deano really well from the great days in the mid '90s," Anderson told NRL.com.
Her late father is legendary Bulldogs chairman Peter Moore and her husband is former Bulldogs premiership-winning coach and Kangaroos mentor, Chris Anderson. He is also on the ticket.
"I also know Andrew Hill well from my last job. I have reinforced to both again that we are about building the best club and support for them, and doing this as a united club."
Other ticket members are Canterbury's 1988 Clive Churchill Medal winner Paul Dunn; two-time premiership winner Steve Price; long-time former manager of the Canterbury Leagues Club, John Ballesty; local businessman with 35 years' involvement in junior rugby league John Khoury; and former board member Nick Dimas.
Anderson, who worked for the Bulldogs as head of marketing in the 1990s, is the CEO of the Australian Paralympic Committee after eight years as head of global marketing company Repucom, now known as Nielsen Sports, where Hill also worked.
Pay was handed the head coaching reins after the club ended Des Hasler's six-year tenure in September, claiming a memorandum of understanding signed in April was not a contract. The case is now before the NSW District Court.
Anderson and her six-person reform team would inherit the Hasler aftermath.
"While we can't comment on the Hasler situation from the legal perspective, I think everyone shares our opinion that it was not a good period in our club's history," she said.
"Dean has a contract and if elected we absolutely would support him to the hilt.
"As a rookie coach with an inherited roster and challenges, our biggest role is to show support and faith in him. As a Bulldogs great he certainly deserves that."
As for the players, who were put through the wringer over Hasler's future, they could be forgiven for feeling some anxiety over the board elections due in February. A date has not been announced.
Popular players Josh Reynolds and skipper James Graham were allowed to sign with the Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra Dragons respectively when contract extensions could not be finalised.
"A key reason for offering members an alternative to the current board is to ensure that the Bulldogs return to our core values of respect for all, especially fans and players," Anderson said.
"We don't want to see a repeat of some of the dramas of the last few years where salary cap issues saw good Bulldogs people shopped around late season.
"While I think most players just get on with doing the hard yards especially at this stage of the season, they can rest assured we will not be getting in the way.
"Rather we are about rebuilding the 'Family Club', where everyone who comes here is welcomed, supported and allowed to be the best they can be.
"Of course with that comes expectations of high standards around performance and success. That is the Bulldogs heritage."
The Bulldogs finished 11th in 2017, missing the Telstra Premiership finals for the first time in six years.
Anderson and other would-be directors have set up a website with their nine-point plan to revitalise the club. A series of fan forums have also been held. The next is on Friday at the Bankstown Sports Club followed by another at the Campsie RSL at a later date.
"We have been told of a lot of discontent among members and fans, in particular around not being listened to or engaged as core stakeholders," Anderson said.
"We have released our plans via our website and so the forums are a great chance to pay members respect by asking their thoughts, ideas etc.
"Ultimately we think it's time for change. The last couple of seasons have seen our club slide both on and off the field. We were once the envy of the rugby league and sporting world. We want to get the Bulldogs of old back."