No hard feelings as Mbye farewells Bulldogs
As Moses Mbye emerged from the Bulldogs dressing sheds for the last time, he said he held no resentment towards the club that let him go so he could take up a four-year deal with the Wests Tigers.
His next training session will be at Concord Oval on Monday, but he left Belmore Sportsground in the worst possible way on Saturday – losing his last match 32-10 to the Gold Coast Titans after a fairly insipid performance by Canterbury.
Mbye scored a try but also took aim at the fact so much outside noise has been in the players' ears over the past two seasons.
The wrangling over former coach Des Hasler's contract, the clean-out in coaching and administration corridors, and the talk that player contracts were too heavily back-ended had taken a toll.
Mbye still had two years to run on his contract. But when the Tigers came calling, the Bulldogs executive couldn't resist the chance to loosen some of their salary cap pressure.
"I'd rather have seen out my contract but the situation we're in was quite unique," Mbye said on Saturday night, wearing his Bulldogs tracksuit for the last time.
"To be fair the current administration has inherited a lot … so it wasn't to be [for him to stay]. The most effective thing was to start shifting a couple of players along and unfortunately one was myself. That's how it works when clubs get in these situations ... the players have to fall over.
"There's always positives to it. The club has done nothing wrong by me in my time here."
Since his first choice was not to leave his teammates, Mbye could be forgiven for feeling resentful his Bulldogs deal is one of the back-ended contracts causing a strain on the club's salary cap compliance.
"Not at all. The way it works is that clubs seek premiership windows. Our previous administration was under the impression it was our window to get a premiership. Results quieten everything – they fix everything," Mbye said.
"We haven't been getting results for the last 24 months. When you're not getting results you're looking for answers. And the more results you don't get the deeper you dig.
"We've dug pretty deep because we've lost a fair few games now. This is where it's got down to ... a rebuilding phase.
"It's a great club; a proud club. With so much pride within these walls, they'll come up with a good solution."
The fact other players are in the same position – the Bulldogs are not talking to off-contract players like the Morris twins Josh and Brett, or forward Greg Eastwood – means uncertainty over futures is having an effect on the playing group.
"Well, it didn't for myself because I knew where I was at. But for other blokes, they probably don't. That game tonight was one of the worst performances I've been involved with, to be honest," Mbye said.
"There is no hiding from the fact it has some sort of effect on the playing group because that's not the side we are to turn up like that tonight.
"I'm not digging for an excuse ... I'm looking for an answer."
Part of his solution was to talk to the Tigers and secure another contract.
"It's mixed emotions – I'm excited. I'm nervous. But I am looking forward to it. I've been at this club [Bulldogs] for a number of years and I guess the Tigers have already had their rebuilding phase, and they see me as a part of that structure."