You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Interim Canterbury coach Steve Georgallis and his players have told the Bulldogs board they would welcome Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor back as the pair discuss their futures at the club.

Harawira-Naera and Okunbor were due to meet with Bulldogs hierarchy on Friday after the NRL's Appeals Committee overturned their deregistration over their pre-season incident involving schoolgirls in Port Macquarie.

While both players are once again contracted to Canterbury and Okunbor is believed to be keen on resuming his career at Belmore, Harawira-Naera's future is less certain.

The Kiwi international is understood to be on the radar of rivals including Canberra and the Dragons amid suggestions he will seek a release from his Bulldogs deal.

Harawira-Narea would be available for selection next week after serving a 10-game ban and paying a $15,000 fine, though he would likely be a few weeks away from an NRL return given he has not been training with the Bulldogs.

Tolman keen to stay despite Bulldogs uncertainty

Georgallis, who has stepped into the breach following Dean Pay's departure earlier this week, said he had conveyed a willingness to have Harawira-Naera and Okunbor back on deck to Canterbury powerbrokers.

"We've talked about it as a playing group. I asked the players what they thought and they said, 'yes, we want them back'," Georgallis said.

"And they asked me what I thought and I said, 'yes, I want them back'. I referred that to the board.

"It would be great if they can sort out [on Friday] if they have any issues with the club and we can get them back as quick as possible."

Okunbor's 14-game ban means he would be available from round 15.

There are only 16 positions, so if they offered it to me, I'd be very interested

Bulldogs interim coach Steve Georgallis

While the Bulldogs continue to negotiate with Panthers assistant coach Trent Barrett around a prospective three-year deal, his previous involvement during Harawira-Naera's formative years with Penrith could prove decisive to his future.

Georgallis, meanwhile, begins his second stint as an interim coach this weekend against the Dragons.

In 2011 he took charge of the Panthers when Matthew Elliott moved on, and finds himself once again potentially keeping a job warm for a longer-term replacement.

Georgallis does so with Bulldogs reserve grade coach Brad Henderson recalled from JobKeeper to be by his side after fellow assistant Steve Antonelli quit the club in support of Pay.

In spite of the difficult circumstances, Georgallis sees potential in both the Bulldogs and his own chances to press for a head coaching role.

"It feels like deja vu," Georgallis said of the similar scenario to Penrith almost a decade ago.

Foran backs Georgallis

"Matty Elliott at the time resigned and they asked me to take over.

"After one win they announced another coach, but I really enjoyed those games and that feeling of being at the top of your game.

"It is every assistant coach’s dream to have an opportunity to coach in the NRL.

"There are only 16 positions, so if they offered it to me, I'd be very interested.

"Lynne Anderson from the board called me on Tuesday and thanked me for taking the team forward, and she said they weren't sure on who was going to be the head coach next year.

"If it's someone else, it's someone else. These 11 weeks for me are another way I can show this club or any other club my experience and what I can do."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

VIEW ALL PARTNERS