Trent Barrett has reportedly quit as Bulldogs coach following the club’s disastrous start to the season.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the club parted ways with Barrett on Monday while Nine’s Danny Weidler tweeted that the embattled coach quit on Sunday night.
It followed reports that the club was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting to discuss Barrett’s future following the Magic Round loss to the Knights which was viewed as the “breaking point” according to the Daily Telegraph.
The Telegraph’s David Riccio then revealed players were left stunned after they were sent home from training and their schedule for Bulldogs clash with the Wests Tigers abandoned.
Players were reportedly told to return to training on Wednesday.
Barret, meanwhile, was not at Belmore on Monday as club directors held a phone hook over the coaching situation.
The developments come just weeks after Gould backed Barrett as the club’s long-term coach.
Earlier, speaking on Sports Breakfast Radio, the Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield said Barrett would not survive the week.
“No he doesn’t (survive). He is gone,” Rothfield said.
“I think there’s internal issues emerging with an unhappy roster and I think the axe will fall in the next 48 hours.”
Rothfield said the club was handling the situation “very delicately” to make it appear that Phil Gould was not behind Barrett’s axing, with both men managed by Wayne Beavis.
“Phil Gould can’t be seen as the person who sacks him. But he’s got a history of getting rid of coaches. You go back to Penrith with Ivan cleary and Anthony Griffin,” Rothfield said.
“The way it will be orchestrated is, it will be a board decision. People with any real knowledge of the situation know Gus has more power than the chairman, CEO or anybody within the club and it’s his decision.
“What will happen is Trent Barrett, it will be orchestrated that (Barrett) resigns and stands down and says publicly he’s not in position to take the team forward.”
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Fox League’s panel of experts spoke on the meeting on Sunday and suggested the “writing is on the wall”.
“It has been an extremely tough time for Trent Barrett and the Bulldogs but the fact that there is an emergency meeting probably suggests that the writing is on the wall,” Corey Parker said.
“Otherwise then why is there an emergency meeting, what are they going to meet about, if it is not going to be about the future of Trent Barrett.
“It has been a difficult season for them but I don’t know that another coach gets more out of what they have got, I am not sure about that, they have turned up the Bulldogs for most games but they have just really struggled to score points.
“They compete and they turn up but, there is a lot of frustration that is going on there, the performance that they put in the other night against the Knights was totally unacceptable in a lot of areas, and a lot of areas that were just effort based not talent.”
The former Panthers assistant had no answers in Friday night’s post-match press conference, having slumped to the dismal record of only five wins from 34 games.
Many fans had a positive outlook coming into this season, with a number of high-profile recruits including Matt Burton and Josh Addo-Carr ready to revive the cellar dwellers.
But now any optimism has faded and the Bulldogs will not be short of options should they be needing a new coach.
Paul Green, Shane Flanagan and Cameron Ciraldo are the experienced options to take over, while Steve Price has had a successful stint in Cronulla and Kristian Woolf has been solid at St Helens.