Bulldogs’ cultured search for NRL answers

Canterbury’s search to recapture their famed culture will likely have to go beyond Chris Anderson, with the club legend not believed not to be interested in a role at the NRL club.

The Bulldogs’ culture has been smashed since Des Hasler was sacked on Tuesday, with former players Graeme Hughes, Willie Mason and Reni Maitua particularly scathing.

Mason and Maitua each blamed Hasler’s six-year tenure for eroding the history of the Bulldogs, and were staunch in their support of a former Canterbury player returning as coach.

Canberra assistant Dean Pay looks the most likely to fit that category, after he last played for the Bulldogs in 1995.

He has already gone public in his interest for the job.

There were also calls from Matthew Johns for Anderson to take a role in the football department, similar to Phil Gould’s at Penrith, where he could oversee any rookie coach.

Johns played under Anderson at Cronulla in 2002 and has long been an admirer of his work.

“I would have serious consideration to bring Chris Anderson back into the fold at the Bulldogs just to be involved with the team behind the scenes and to guide Dean Pay,” Johns told Triple M Sydney on Thursday.

“Chris Anderson … he’s one of the most-loved coaches out there. He understands how to give the team back to the players.”

Anderson played 230 games for the Bulldogs from 1971-84, and was on the wing in their 1980 grand-final victory.

The Bulldogs’ life member was voted into their 70-year team of champions in 2004.

However, it’s understood he would not be interested in stepping back into such a role at the Bulldogs.

Meanwhile, fellow head-coaching candidate Todd Payten said on Thursday morning he was yet to hear from the Bulldogs.

Payten is an assistant to Paul Green at North Queensland, and has previously worked at the Wests Tigers and as a junior NSW coach.

“I’ve been around long enough to know if they are genuine in their interest, they will come to me. And that’s something that hasn’t happened yet,” he said.

“I have an ambition to be a head coach. I’m not sure when that will happen.”

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