“I’m happy to help the club in any way, but I’m certainly not a shadow over any coach’s shoulder,” Anderson told the Herald.
“I think that’s disrespectful to the people who are making decisions; they are doing OK themselves. They’ve just been through a tough time and I think they have handled it pretty well. They gave Deano every opportunity to be the right bloke.
“It’s unfortunate that while I’m around, [that insinuation] is always going to rear its head.
“I haven’t won an argument with my missus in 40 years.
“I still talk to people at the club, but there’s nothing official. I’m not around the place at all. I really don’t know what’s going on other than keeping in touch with blokes who are there.”
Anderson believes the rumours of him being the puppeteer at the club have been generated by his political enemies.
“From the sources in the media who are pushing it, it’s hard not to think that,” he said. “I don’t know whether it’s the [Ray] Dib camp not wanting me to be part of it, a bit of sour grapes.
“It’s not a worry to me really. If they want to play those games, they can play those games. To me it’s no big deal.”
Anderson believes Barrett is the person best qualified to take over from Pay, but is adamant they haven’t spoken about the job. The pair worked together in 2002 when then-Kangaroos coach Anderson took a squad containing playmaker Barrett on tour.
“I like Trent, he’s a really good kid,” Anderson said. “He’s had a bit of experience now. The fact he’s done a few years of first-grade coaching means that he knows what the job is about.
“It was tough on Deano because he came in as an unknown coach and didn’t know himself if he could coach or not. Inheriting a tough team, it was a tough deal for him.
“Trent has had that experience now; I think he’d be good for the club.
“You learn some tough things when you are a first-grade coach. You need to go through those first two years of finding out how it all works, being confident about your ability and that sort of thing.
“It takes a while to figure all that out and he’ll be a much better coach for the experience”
Should Barrett accept the Bulldogs job, it will signify his return as a head coach after an acrimonious departure from Manly. His tenure was marked by a fallout with club legend Bob Fulton that resulted in the 42-year-old spending his final months at the club on gardening leave.
Anderson said Pay had done his best in difficult circumstances, with Barrett well placed to lift the Bulldogs from the bottom of the ladder.
“Deano gave the job 100 per cent,” Anderson said. “It was a tough job, he’d have learnt a lot from it and I hope this is not the last time he coaches.
“That’s where Trent has been, he’s had this experience and gone away and had a think about it. He will come back with a bit more confidence about his ability to coach.
“I haven’t spoken to him, but if he comes on board, I’d give him a call. If he wants a little bit of help now and then, I’m there to help him. But I certainly won’t interfere.”
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.