Payten emerges as option for NRL Bulldogs

Aaron Woods has called for Canterbury to quickly appoint a new NRL coach to replace Des Hasler as Todd Payten emerges as a top candidate.

Payten is among a field of early possibilities for the Bulldogs’ top job after veteran Hasler’s sacking on Tuesday.

Former Bulldogs players Dean Pay and Jim Dymock, as well as sacked Souths coach Michael Maguire, are also believed to be on the shortlist.

Currently working under Paul Green at North Queensland, the former Wests Tigers prop Payten has also been mooted as a candidate for the Gold Coast job.

He has a close link with incoming forward Woods having worked with the former Tigers captain as both a teammate and an assistant coach.

Woods spoke glowingly of him earlier this season when he was considered a candidate to replace Jason Taylor at the Tigers.

Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib said on Tuesday the club would begin the search for a new coach immediately.

Woods, who arrives at the club in November, did not give his preference for the appointment on Wednesday morning but backed Dib to resolve the matter.

“Hopefully they move on quickly and don’t stall for so long,” Woods told Sky Sports Radio.

“I’ve got all the faith in the world in the club. Ray will handle it well. They’re a strong board. They’re a club that don’t like to let things hang over their heads.

“I’m just looking for a fresh start and really getting to know all the players and just can’t wait to buy into the new culture obviously the new coach is going to start.

“Whoever they go for, I’m sure all the boys will give 110 per cent for and work our backsides off to move Canterbury to the top eight.”

Of the other candidates, Pay has also been in talks with English Super League club Warrington, while Maguire is considered a front-runner at the Titans.

Dymock, an assistant at the Bulldogs, also confirmed earlier this month he would throw his hand up for the role if it became available – but is off-contract at the club this summer.

“The club believes the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary,” Dib said.

It is believed Dib spoke to incoming half Kieran Foran about the situation last week, given his close bond with Hasler.

Foran won a premiership under the former Manly mentor in 2011, and has made no secret of the fact Hasler played a key role in attracting him to the club for next year from the Warriors.

Despite that, the 27-year-old is not believed have a get-out clause in his contract that would allow him to follow Hasler out of the club.

Dib called Woods on Tuesday night after the Bulldogs’ decision was made public to inform him of the coaching situation.

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