Hughes asks how NRL’s Dogs can be trusted

Canterbury great Graeme Hughes has savaged the NRL club over their handling of Des Hasler’s sacking, questioning how anyone can trust the current administration.

Hasler and the Bulldogs might be heading to the courts after the club’s sacking of the veteran coach, just months after announcing he had signed a two-year contract extension.

But chairman Ray Dib on Tuesday claimed that deal was only a “heads of agreement” and it was “non-binding”, allowing the board to opt against keeping him on in 2018.

The Hasler camp reportedly fears that could deny the two-time premiership-winning coach a full payout, to which he believes he is entitled.

And Hughes, who has history with Canterbury chairman Ray Dib, has questioned how anyone can trust the club.

“I’m trying to work out how the chairman can announce the signing of someone publicly on a non-binding agreement,” Hughes told Fox Sports News.

“You’ve got to turn around to player managers, players and potentially a coach now and say ‘you can trust us – you’ll see your contract out’.

“Well that trust is gone.”

Hughes’ beef with the Bulldogs’ board has been ongoing.

After winning a premiership with the club in 1980, he and his brothers handed in their life memberships in 2009 in protest against brother Garry’s previous sacking as football manager after the 2004 Coffs Harbour scandal.

He also reached an out-of-court settlement with the club in 2009 over a defamation case, and failed in a bid to be voted onto the club’s board the following season.

But he insisted his views were borne out of his passion for the club, not personal issues with the administration.

Regardless, Hasler’s axing comes ahead of a crunch board election in February, when it’s believed a rival ticket will be formed against Dib.

Former Bulldogs deputy chairman Paul Dunn is likely to lead that charge, with the support of a number of past players.

Hughes on Wednesday claimed he had no interest in joining that ticket, but said change was needed at the top after chief executive Raelene Castle also resigned this year.

“This is the worst state I’ve ever seen our club in,” Hughes said.

“You’ve got the club captain out the door, James Graham – and they’re going to be paying some of his contract to play at another club.

“I think it’s a disgraceful state and, when you’re talking about cleanouts, I think everyone knows it has to go further.”

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