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Pay's future and NRLW team top of Bulldogs hit list

Canterbury Bulldogs are looking to join the NRLW whenever the competition hits the expansion button.

Chair Lynne Anderson said that was one of her priorities as head of the board for the next two years, along with sorting out the future of head coach Dean Pay, the only NRL coach off contract in 2020.

Anderson was elected for another term along with six of her fellow directors on February 9.

The only change from the team elected in 2018 was Adrian Turner, who replaced Bulldogs legend Steve Mortimer. He had already announced he would stand down at the completion of his term.

The Bulldogs have already submitted an application for a NRLW franchise. The competition is expected to expand in 2022 from the four foundation clubs.

Last November, the Bulldogs appointed Luke Goodwin, son of St George legend Ted Goodwin, as their Harvey Norman women's team head coach.

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"Absolutely we want to be part of the NRLW," Anderson told

"We're the family club and we've got a female chair. So if we can't get a NRLW team to fix that hole in our club then I'd better give up."

Anderson said Bulldogs members were behind the club's push on the women's game.

"Ever since we started on this journey two-and-a-bit years ago we've always had a plan and the members want to see us stick to that," she said.

"Our plan was a combination of what members thought we needed as well – things like getting the salary cap under control, good governance, stability, and creating a pathway for women."

Two years ago Anderson and CEO Andrew Hill also promised members the club would be able to give the player market a real shake in 2021 as the salary cap excesses would be under control by then.

Dean has created a young, vibrant squad that doesn't want to look back but just forward

Bulldogs chair Lynne Anderson

That has not changed but Anderson said there would be no mad spending spree.

"It's got to be the right fit for the right positions. So we won't be out there splashing cash around in a frenzy – we'll be patient," she said.

Now the question is whether Pay will be part of the 2021 plans. He is the only NRL coach off contract in 2020.

Pay won't need reminding that the Bulldogs were 2-7 after nine rounds in both 2018 and 2019. Another start like that would not be good.

"Look there's been no formal discussions yet. But we are really happy and supportive of Dean," Anderson said.

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"The end of last season, we thought, really indicated the faith everyone has in Dean. It wasn't just winning seven from 10 it was the way the team came together off the field.

"He's created a young, vibrant squad that doesn't want to look back but just forward.

"I think it's still one of the youngest NRL squads going around but those kids now have another year of NRL experience – most of them with 20 games or more.

"So Dean is helping these guys on how to play in the NRL and get better, and we love that.

"I've been very pleased the way our squad has come back to pre-season training – they've grown in confidence after a good ending to 2019.

"But the stats from the past two season sum up things. We know we need to start well and everyone is focused on that – not just the team but everyone from the board down."

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