Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson has described outgoing coach Trent Barrett as the “most well-rounded” coach he has ever had, as he placed blame on the playing group for the NRL team’s poor start to the season.
- Trent Barrett stood down as Bulldogs coach after the club’s poor start to the season
- Captain Josh Jackson says Barrett had the support of the players
- Mick Potter has been appointed as the Bulldogs’ interim head coach
Barrett stepped down as Canterbury coach on Sunday, before the club had been set to hold a board meeting to discuss his future at Belmore.
“To my knowledge, the board were going to sit down on Monday and have a chat about the future and the results — I asked if I could speak to them and let them know [Barrett] has the support of all the players,” Jackson said.
“I don’t feel let down by Trent. I understand his position, but I’d like Trent to be here, obviously.
“He’s the most well-rounded coach I’ve ever had — a great communicator, motivator, great footy intelligence — he’s been fantastic for me.”
Jackson said he felt blindsided by Barrett’s departure and appeared distressed as he spoke to media about the coach taking the blame for the team’s performance.
“It’s the players [who] are responsible. We are the ones on the field and we are the ones who aren’t delivering the results,” Jackson said.
The Bulldogs have started the season with a 2-8 win-loss record, while the team managed just five victories from 34 games under Barrett’s tutelage.
With the clash with Wests Tigers just two days away, former Bulldogs player Mick Potter has come in to fill Barrett’s shoes as interim head coach.
“I think he’s a fantastic addition, a premiership winner, has won two premierships here and he has a lot of experience as a head coach,” Jackson said. “And he brings an outsiders’ perspective, which I think is good.”
One of the few veteran, one-club players in the NRL, Jackson has been part of the Bulldogs fabric since 2012, and has seen both Dean Pay and Des Hasler depart as head coach before Barrett called it quits.
Jackson said there was an element of groundhog day in Barrett’s departure, but denied there was a cultural problem at the club.
“If there was a cultural issue here, we’d be getting beat by 60 every week,” he said.
“A lot of the games we’ve been in, we’ve only lost by a small margin.
Languishing at the bottom of the ladder with the same win-loss record as this weekend’s opponents, Jackson refused to be written off with 15 rounds to go.
“We’ve got two choices: We can use this as an excuse for poor performances and poor preparation or we can rally together and go out there and win. [The latter is] what we plan to do,” Jackson said.
“We don’t have to change too much. It’s Round 11. We have plenty more footy to play this year. As it stands, we are sitting three wins outside of the top eight so we haven’t given up on the season. “
As for Barrett’s future, Jackson said he hoped another club would take him on.
“He’s a fantastic coach and I hope he doesn’t give it up,” he said.
“I hope he pushes on because he has a lot of value to add.”