Canterbury Bulldogs appoint new coach despite success of former St Helens and Bradford Bulls boss

There has been something of a coaching merry-go-round in the NRL this year which has seen the likes of Kristian Woolf linked with moves away from Super League, former Hull KR assistant and Penrith coach Andrew Webster tempted to New Zealand Warriors bringing former Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar with him and now Canterbury have confirmed their 2023 coach.

They’ve appointed Cameron Ciraldo who, like Webster, is currently an assistant coach with NRL Champions Penrith Panthers.

Again in the same vein as Webster, Ciraldo’s only experience in the hot seat in the NRL came as caretaker of Penrith in 2019 prior to Ivan Cleary’s appointment. Ironically, Webster did the exact same job at Wests being the interim coach filling in until Cleary’s appointment demonstrating the faith NRL clubs have in these forward thinking assistant coaches.

Ciraldo has had experience as Italy national coach however.

His appointment does confirm that former St Helens boss Mick Potter won’t be receiving the job full time despite breathing life into the Bulldogs’ seasons and getting positivity back within the core of the club.

He’s done a fine job but in the eyes of the higher ups Ciraldo is the man to take them forward.

Potter made his name in Super League taking Catalans to their first top four finish in 2008 of third in their third season in the competition. It is still Catalans’ second highest finish.

He then took St Helens to consecutive Grand Finals in 2009 and 2010 before guiding Bradford through one of their most difficult periods as the club threatened to go into extinction.

It’s a shame that a former Super League favourite won’t be sticking around longer in the Canterbury hotseat but it is a reminder of what he brings still.

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