Bulldogs general manager Phil Gould has not criticized the club’s condition for the past five seasons, claiming they have a “losing problem.”
The former Panthers and Warriors coach has welcomed the enormous task of returning the Canterbury-Bankstown club to its former glory.
Having made several big name signings, Gould emphasized that the club does not have a salary cap problem.
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“The Bulldogs don’t have a salary cap problem, they have a loss problem,” he explained on SEN’s Breakfast with Vossy.
“They’ve only won six games in the last two years and that puts pressure on your salary cap, that puts pressure on people to perform.
“That’s natural in any club, so what we have to do is find winning players and winning combinations and get the club out of the basement and back to a competitive mindset.”
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The Bulldogs’ last appearance in the final was in 2016, and they have since finished above 12th place, with a wooden spoon delivered to the club in 2021.
“I had no illusions about how big the job was going to be,” Gould said.
“You don’t have the kind of form that (the Bulldogs) have been in for the last four or five years without a series of problems.
“John Khoury and his board have worked very hard over the past 12 months.
“He has worked a lot in preparation for my arrival.
“Many of the internal problems have been resolved.”
Coach Trent Barrett arrived in late 2020, fresh from helping Penrith reach the grand final as an assistant, and immediately launched into signing signings.
Barrett landed Panthers trio Matt Burton, Tevita Pangai Jr and Brent Naden, Dragons duo Matt Dufty, Paul Vaughan and Storm superstar Josh Addo-Carr for the 2022 season.
Then, after Gould’s return to the Dogs in July, Reed Mahoney and Viliame Kikau also signed for the 2023 season.
When asked who he was most excited about, Gould said, “I’m excited about all of them,” before explaining that the club “just wants to get better.”
“We were clearly the underperforming team in the competition for the past few years, we had a hard time scoring points and we had trouble stopping points,” Gould said.
“We just want to give something for our fans to cheer on, we want something to be proud of and I’m sure the guys will, I’m feeling a real spirit there right now that’s nice.”
Gould also reflected on the criticism the club has received in recent years.
“I kept telling the entire staff … everyone is judged by that score on Sunday when the first grade team plays,” Gould said.
“It’s unfair very often for all the work they do, but that’s the reality of being at the NRL.
“If that scoreboard is not good at the weekend, then the whole club is judged.”