Bulldogs cap compliant for 2018 season: Dib
CANTERBURY chairman Ray Dib has hosed down any fears over the club's spending woes after declaring their 30-man squad salary-cap compliant for the 2018 season.
Dib used a sponsors and members function on Thursday night to unveil a Captains Circle mentorship program, as well as a rebranding of Belmore Sportsground.
But more importantly, Dib told stakeholders the spending spree that netted them marquee men Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods had been ticked off by the NRL.
The Bulldogs' chief financial officer Vince Costa met the governing body on Thursday.
"After meeting with the NRL this morning with Vince Costa, we have confirmed and are pleased to announce that the Bulldogs are salary-cap compliant for the 2018 season," Dib said.
"Secondly, I want to wish our new coach Dean Pay and all the players all the best with the off-season training and to let them know that everyone's behind them 100 per cent."
Dib's declaration came as Pay continued their pledge to bring back ex-Bulldogs players, but forming a Captains Circle with all five premiership-winning captains.
Former stars George Peponis, Steve Mortimer, Peter Tunks, Terry Lamb and Andrew Ryan will mentor players at training and on match days.
They will also speak regularly with Pay, who had been appointed coach in September after the controversial sacking of Des Hasler.
"It is crucial that we tap into the great history and tradition we have here at the club," Pay said.
"There have been so many quality players that have passed through the club in recent years that we would be crazy not to take advantage of their experience and skills.
"The Captains Circle will offer our current players a link to the past and will be a great addition to our coaching structure."
Pay, whose squad returned this week for pre-season training, vowed to bring back the Bulldogs' aggressive and physical playing style from their halcyon days during the 1980s and 1990s.
Stakeholders on Thursday night were given a tour of the club's facilities, refurbished with a hall of fame and a nod to their premiership-winning coaches.
One of the mottos painted on the walls in the gym reads: "It's time for the madness."
"It's more relevant to the Bulldogs than anybody else because we had some tough blokes that played the game, with 'Cement' (David Gillespie), Peter Kelly, those sorts of guys," Pay said.
"It's how you train - there's got to be a bit of madness about that. But there's certainly going to be a bit of madness about how we play, that's for sure."