Bulldogs, Trent Barrett sacked, Phil Gould, Manly Sea Eagles

Rugby league icon Phil Gould has made an assessment of Trent Barrett’s tumultuous stints as NRL head coach, suggesting he twice signed up for a toxic job .

Gould said it was unwise of him to take on the Manly and Canterbury gigs for a reason: neither the Sea Eagles nor the Bulldogs are in his blood.

The Canterbury football chief felt that, such is the nature of the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs, Barrett would lack support from the board and members. Gould has been public in his support of Barrett as Bulldogs coach, but the patience of the board and members is believed to have run out.

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A grim assessment of Trent Barrett’s stints as NRL head coach suggests he twice signed up for a toxic task. (Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Barrett played the majority of his 235 freshman games with the Steelers and Dragons, before spending his final two seasons with the Sharks.

“He took a job at Manly which I recommended he not take. It was a really tough job at the time and I said, ‘You’re not a Manly boy. They won’t protect you,'” Gould said. on Nine’s 100% Footy.

“And the same at the Bulldogs. When he went to the Bulldogs, I said, ‘You’re not a Bulldog boy, man’. I said, ‘You’re a Dragon’. I said, ‘You’re a Dragon’. “If things go wrong, there’s there won’t be anyone to protect you. And that’s pretty much how it goes.”

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The irony in Gould’s comments is that Barrett’s two predecessors – Geoff Toovey at Manly and Dean Pay at Canterbury – were sacked when they were club greats.

Toovey was a diminutive but fearless half-back for Manly in the 1980s and 1990s, and Pay was a member of the formidable Canterbury outposts of the same era.

Toovey and Pay both struggled in the NRL hot seat and both were pitched by a club they had become legends at.

Either way, Barrett faced a monumental challenge when he accepted the Manly job and again when he became Canterbury’s head coach.

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He had a 39-game winning percentage over three seasons with the Sea Eagles and a 14-game winning percentage over 35 games with the Bulldogs.

Despite Barrett’s dismal record, Gould does not believe he has exhausted his chances as NRL head coach.

“I really value him. I always valued him: as a communicator, as a hard worker,” Gould said.

“This boy – he put his heart and soul into it. He worked hard every day on what he was trying to do, and he worked hard on his craft. He has great communication skills; we identified very early.”

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