NRL 2024: Cameron Ciraldo denies Phil Gould rumours at the Bulldogs

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Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo has denied suggestions club supremo Phil Gould is actually in charge of Canterbury and he and the legendary footy figure don’t see eye-to-eye on weekly team selections.

It’s not the first time there have been reports suggesting Gould and a head coach have had their issues, with Trent Barrett leading Canterbury to a shock win over the Roosters two years ago when Gould supposedly took over a training session that week.

Fittingly, the Bulldogs are preparing to face the Roosters on what should be a soggy Friday night in Sydney, with speculation Gould has taken more control of the team after another slow start.

But Ciraldo shot down those rumours, insisting he wouldn’t have left Penrith to join Gould if the pair didn’t get along, with the two working together at the Panthers before the former back-rower was poached to lead the Bulldogs.

“Me and Gus have robust conversations nearly every day,” he said.

“We agree on some things and disagree on a lot of things, but that’s the relationship that we’ve had that’s been built over 10 or 12 years.

“What’s good about it is that we can have those disagreements and then talk two hours later and get on with it.

“Talking to Gus is like talking to your dad. Sometimes he’s got a point and you walk away thinking ‘you made sense there’, but sometimes I disagree. He trusts me with the way that we’re going and what we’re doing.

“In terms of picking the team, I’m doing that. If he was doing that then I’d make him have the tough conversations with guys when they’re dropped.

“We’ve got a good relationship, and I wouldn’t have come here if we didn’t. If we’re going to agree on everything, then what’s the point of us being here?

“These are healthy disagreements like in any trusted relationship.”

The Bulldogs head into the Roosters clash having won just one of their first four matches, but they’ve looked a lot better defensively so far, with their next job trying to find more fluency in attack.

“I think we’re in a lot better form than what 1-3 suggests,” Ciraldo said, praising halfback Drew Hutchison after he was criticised for not being a genuine No.7.

“It’s easy to look at those numbers and the ladder and assume how we’re playing, but I feel like we’ve been really consistent and that we’ve improved in a lot of areas.

“I feel like if we show that consistency, effort and attitude and keep improving the way we are, then the results will come.”

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