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Canterbury Bulldogs powerbrokers forced out as civil war rages

Bulldogs chair Lynne Anderson and directors Paul Dunn and John Ballesty have stood down from the Canterbury board as the civil war threatening to tear the club apart raged on.

The trio quit following a campaign to force them out as the Dogs find themselves in turmoil on and off the field.

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Canterbury finished second-last after coach Dean Pay was sacked midway through the season, and the threat of an extraordinary general meeting to overthrow Anderson, Dunn and Ballesty hung in the air as angry members and sponsors demanded change.

The club confirmed in a statement the chair and directors — who came to power in 2018 on the back of previous boardroom reform — walked before they were pushed.

“The trio have confirmed this decision was done to avoid the club having to go through an EGM and in the best interests of the club moving forward,” the statement said.

The Bulldogs are in crisis as they try to recover from a horror 2020.

Last week the club’s major sponsor, Laundy Hotels, told The Daily Telegraph it may pull its $2m commitment to the club if the internal unrest continues, upset by the upheaval at board level.

The bloodletting is exactly what incoming coach Trent Barrett doesn’t need after he signed a three-year deal to take over in 2021. He’s already got enough on his plate with a weak playing roster that needs a serious shake-up, and the backroom drama is another headache that will make his job even more difficult.

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Trent Barrett has an enormous job on his hands.Source:Getty Images

Sports writer Andrew Webster told Sky Sports’ Big Sports Breakfast last week 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 … makes relevant comments … 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.”

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.”

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