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Dogs stars filthy over explosive civil war

The Bulldogs’ season from hell is not over yet as continued backroom drama threatens to tear the club apart.Coach Dean Pay was sacked midway through the year and Canterbury finished second-last, but that’s not where the pain ends in 2020.Watch the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals on Kayo. Every game before the Grand Final Live…

The Bulldogs’ season from hell is not over yet as continued backroom drama threatens to tear the club apart.

Coach Dean Pay was sacked midway through the year and Canterbury finished second-last, but that’s not where the pain ends in 2020.

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A boardroom war is in full swing with directors John Ballesty and Paul Dunn, and chair Lynne Anderson, reportedly on the verge of standing down to prevent an extraordinary general meeting being called to remove them, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The Dogs’ major sponsor Laundy Hotels told the publication it may pull its $2m commitment to the club if the civil war rages on, despite only jumping on board this year.

It’s exactly what incoming coach Trent Barrett doesn’t want to hear after he signed a three-year deal to take over in 2021.

He’s already got enough problems on his plate with a weak playing roster that needs a serious shake-up if Canterbury is to be competitive, so the drama at board level is just another headache that will make his job even more difficult.

Sports writer Andrew Webster told Sky Sports’ Big Sports Breakfast Bulldogs stars are sick of the in-fighting.

“I know for a fact players, I’ve spoken to them directly, are pretty sick of the conjecture about their club,” Webster said.

“John Ballesty — he’s one of the board directors they’re trying to overthrow — makes relevant comments in The Herald today that, how the hell can Canterbury sign players and re-sign players when they’ve got so much instability at board level?

“Then Trent Barrett has to walk into all of this. I get the sense and I’ve heard from plenty of people around him that he’s unhappy about it and he was a little bit uncertain about whether this was going to be the right move for him.”

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NRL supremo Phil Gould — who has worked closely with Barrett as a player and coach — recently warned the former NSW playmaker off taking the Dogs job, saying it was a poisoned chalice because of all the administrative chaos.

However, Barrett maintained he was committed to his new gig.

“I thought they were quite pointed comments from Phil Gould a few weeks ago,” Webster said.

“Gus doesn’t say anything for the sake of it, there’s usually some meaning behind it and when he said a few weeks ago that he thinks Trent Barrett should not go to Canterbury it was pretty telling.”

Nine’s Danny Weidler said Barrett was “walking into a mess” and reported the man driving the boardroom change, John Karanikolas, had a blunt message for the Laundys if they were thinking of pulling their sponsorship.

“The Bulldogs are a members club. The Laundy family don’t own it,” he told Weidler. “They are welcome to go now if they can’t accept it.”

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