New Canterbury coach Dean Pay has promised to bring back the “Dogs of War” mentality and reintroduce “a little bit of madness” into the once-feared NRL side.
A former premiership player with the Bulldogs, Pay will take over in 2018 after Des Hasler was sacked.
Pay wants an aggressive and physical playing style, similar to what he played under in his seven seasons at the club in the late 1980s and 1990s.
In his first appearance Friday as Canterbury’s new mentor, the former Bulldogs premiership winner spoke of bringing his own style to the club but still incorporating an old-school mentality.
After getting the nod for the head coaching role ahead of Jim Dymock following Des Hasler’s sacking a fortnight ago, Pay promised a return to the club’s roots and to instil a bit of ruthlessness.
“The last eight years I’ve worked with Craig Bellamy down in Melbourne and Ricky Stuart (in Canberra) so I’ve taken a lot from both coaches and I’ve got my own thoughts on the game,” Pay said.
“We’ll play our own style of footy; we’ll play Bulldogs footy next year. We won’t be copping anyone that’s for sure.
“I want to be a really aggressive team with our defence, and especially with our attack.”
Asked if that meant a return to the “Dogs of War” mentality, which the club was famous for during the 1980s, Pay said: “Well, we want a bit of madness out of them, that’s for sure.”
Pay had seven seasons at Belmore from 1989-95 including playing in the club’s 1995 grand final-winning side. The last of their eight premierships was in 2004, with Pay becoming their fifth NRL coach since then.
His predecessor Hasler was criticised by club greats such as Steve Mortimer and Terry Lamb as not understanding the DNA of the “the family club”.
Pay also revealed star recruits Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods were contenders for the club captaincy after James Graham was forced out for salary cap reasons. He has a three-year deal with St George Illawarra from 2018.
Pady said he wouldn’t make a decision on the new skipper until he had got to know all of his troops but confirmed the duo were among the contenders.
“I’ve got a few players in mind, but I’ll hope to get to know them a bit better in the pre-season and we’ll discuss it,” Pay said.
“(Woods) would have to be a contender as well.”
Woods and Foran have only been provisionally signed as the Bulldogs have been told by the NRL they must offload players to get under the cap before the contracts are registered.
It’s reported Brett and Josh Morris and Greg Eastwood have been shopped around to rival clubs and chairman Ray Dib said he hoped to make an announcement that the club was salary cap compliant in the “next few days”.
Pay also revealed that hooker Michael Lichaa, who was told he had would not be re-signed under Hasler’s watch, was a chance of remaining at the club.