Cameron Ciraldo’s first day on the job as Canterbury Bulldogs coach was a tough one.
Already suffering from the celebrations he enjoyed with his fellow coaches at Penrith Panthers and of course the players following their second consecutive Grand Final win, Ciraldo was hit with a bit of a bombshell when he was told by Canterbury captain Josh Jackson that he would be retiring early.
“He just said, ‘Ciro, I’m sorry to drop this on you on your first day but I’m not going to play next year — my body has had enough’,” Ciraldo recalled on James Graham’s podcast The Bye Round.
“I was still a bit under the weather from celebrations the day before, and I was sitting there with the captain, and he was telling me that he didn’t want to play.
“I was a little bit in shock and didn’t know what to say.
“I sat there and talked to him for a bit, and it was clear he’d thought about it a lot. I said go away and sleep on it; come back to me in a few days when you’ve had time to digest it.
“And he came back again and said he was done.
“I didn’t know how to handle it.
“There are no textbooks I’ve read that says how to handle when your captain wants to retire early.
“He did it without asking for a job on the staff or anything like that. He was happy to just walk away from the final year of his contract.
“That just shows the type of man he is — he’s incredible.
“We’re really grateful that he’s on our staff now and still has a part to play in the Bulldogs.”
That decision has left the Bulldogs boss with a huge decision as to who to appoint as skipper for 2023 and a huge honour awaits whoever takes on the armband.
Ex-St Helens star Luke Thompson is reportedly in the mix for the role as is winger Josh Addo-Carr.
Meanwhile, it has been speculated that it could be offered to Mitchell Moses as they look to tempt him from Parramatta Eels.
It would be good news for Thompson should he be awarded the captain’s armband after a long time of speculation about his future last season.
He was linked with Melbourne Storm and Wests Tigers as well as a return to Super League with either Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Warrington Wolves or Leeds Rhinos.
It has come to light recently that he was told he could find a new club and it has been speculated that he and indeed other teammates such as former Hull FC target Kyle Flanagan are not safe from Phil Gould’s brutal axe as he juggles the salary cap.
A key player for the Bulldogs, awarding him the captaincy would secure his future.