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‘We won’t make a rash call’: Bulldogs boss opens up about Pay’s future

“We won’t be rushing to a decision,” Anderson told the Herald. “We will be giving Dean every opportunity and all of our board and staff are committed to supporting Dean and the team.

“Having done a lot of analysis and looked at stats coming from a research [background], I now look at three teams I admire. I look at where they are at and where they have come from because they have had to do rebuilds or they have had dramas with salary cap, etc.

“I admire Parramatta, Newcastle and Canberra. You look at trigger points for their turnarounds, and they are in their fourth or fifth years – we are two-and-a-half in.

Under pressure: Dean Pay's future remains clouded.

Under pressure: Dean Pay’s future remains clouded.Credit:AAP

“They are the kinds of rational decisions required, where we take the heat out of the moment and say ‘should we be further ahead of where we are now?’ Yes, because we shouldn’t have shot ourselves in the foot with Port Macquarie [an incident that led to the sacking of Jayden Okunbor and Corey Harawira-Naera].

“They are the things we need to be stepping back [to consider] a rational decision rather than an emotional one.”

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Asked if there was a deadline on Pay’s future, Anderson said: “Not at all”.

“We will make a measured rather than reactionary decision. We are under no illusions we all need to do better.”

Pay’s success rate since taking over from Des Hasler in 2018 is just 35 per cent, although club powerbrokers have cut him some slack given the roster and salary cap issues he inherited.

Making the Bulldogs situation all the more intriguing is the prevalence of influential figures on the periphery who have the ear of the decision makers. There is a push for Wayne Bennett to be pursued from 2021 from some quarters as part of a transition plan that involves eventually handing over to a former player currently working in the media. The proposed overhaul includes shaking up the roster by pursuing the likes of Matt Burton, Curtis Rona and also Ben Hunt if the Dragons are prepared to subsidise the transfer of the latter.

Asked if the board was split on Pay’s future, Anderson said: “We have not discussed a decision around him. What we have discussed is that we will continue to support him.

“We had a (board) meeting last Thursday and will continue to give support. Hilly and Pricey (CEO Andrew Hill and general manager of football Steve Price) will be there for him so he can tell us what he needs and what the team needs. That’s all it’s been.”

Leagues club boss George Coorey couldn’t be contacted for comment regarding Thursday’s meeting, while Anderson said Pay’s future wouldn’t be broached.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “It is all around long-term sustainability of our club, as well as the short term because of COVID.

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“It’s about best-practice corporate governance in extraordinary times like now.

“It’s a review about the performance of the leagues club and the football clubs jointly. I am certainly keen to hear management’s views on what the next 12 months will look like.”

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