Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy is predicting former assistant Dean Pay will be a success when he takes the clipboard for the first time in his coaching career at Canterbury.
The former Bulldogs forward will on Friday be unveiled as the man to lead the club back to its glory days after his appointment was confirmed on Thursday.
His first head coaching gig comes after more than a decade serving as a right-hand man, first to Bellamy between 2010-12, and then for Ricky Stuart at Parramatta and Canberra.
Pay was coach of the Storm’s under-20s side for three years, where he mentored six players who will play in Sunday’s NRL grand final between Melbourne and North Queensland.
Kenny Bromwich, Slade Griffin, Tohu Harris and Jordan McLean all came through under Pay’s watch, as did Cowboys pair Justin O’Neill and Ben Hampton.
Bellamy said Pay’s strong ties to Belmore would also be key to the Bulldogs’ rebuild after Des Hasler was sacked for missing the finals for the first time in six years.
“Obviously he was a wonderful player for the Bulldogs, so he knows what the Bulldogs are about,” Bellamy said of Pay.
“That’s basically what their club wanted – someone that knows what the Bulldogs stand for. That seemed to be the reason perhaps Des (Hasler) isn’t there no more.
“Whether that’s a fallacy or whether that’s the truth, I don’t know.
“But Dean done a wonderful job for us with out under-20s, brought a lot of our young kids through. He’s a terrific bloke, a real decent guy. I’m sure he’d be a great success.”
Pay has also been credited for leading NSW State of Origin under-20s team to three straight wins over Queensland between 2012-14.
Among those teams were current Bulldogs stars David Klemmer and Adam Elliott, as well as Boyd Cordner, Dylan Walker, Jake Trbojevic, Mitchell Moses and Jack Bird.