Kurri Kurri Bulldogs stick with coach Ron Griffiths for 2018

UPDATE

The Kurri Kurri Bulldogs have reappointed first grade coach Ron Griffiths for season 2018.

Griffiths met with the coaching review panel on Tuesday night where he outlined his plans for next season.

Griffiths said it was a relief to get the nod and he would continue work on securing players from the current squad and recruiting additional talent.

“I have done a fair bit of work already. It was important that we didn’t miss the boat in terms of securing available talent,” he said.

The Bulldogs enjoy this weekend off with a league rest weekend.

They host Lakes United on August 19 before travelling to Peacock Field for their final round encounter against Macquarie Scorpions.

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Kurri Kurri Bulldogs coach Ron Griffiths is confident he has been part of laying the platform for an exciting future for the Bulldogs.

Griffiths will learn this week if he continues at the helm of first grade and would love to the part of the ongoing development of a core group of exciting young leaders led by Mitch Cullen who played his 100th first grade game in Saturday’s loss 20-40 loss to Central Newcastle.

A four-man review panel was to meet on Tuesday night to finalise their decision and club secretary Jeff Polglase said a decision would be released after they had met with Griffiths.

Griffiths had a one-year contract with the Bulldogs and a decision was always going to be made at the end of season on whether he continued at the helm.

Saturday’s upset win by the Maitland Pickers has left the Bulldogs at the bottom of the table with just three wins from the season.

Griffiths said he was keen to continue as Bulldogs’ coach and believed that the adversity faced this year with senior players missing through injury and the departure of halves Tyrone and Ryan Walsh mid-season.

“I’ve loved my time at the Bulldogs and coaching the guys. I love what they stand for as a group of players,” Griffiths said.

“I expect big things from the club in the next few years.”

Griffiths said the emergence of Cullen as a genuine leader at the club had been a highlight of the year for him.

“We spoke before Saturday’s game about Mitch’s age, reaching 100 games at just 25 with his best years in front of him.

“Good leaders ask people to walk beside them and not behind them and that’s something he does.

“He exudes leadership, he has been really good this year. The club’s in good hands with a guy like that showing the leadership potential he has at that age.”

Griffiths said the core young leadership group also included Ben Wyborn, Brock Gilmour, Michael Steele and Kade Hardy.

“The younger guys are not much younger than them but they really look up to them,” he said.

LEADER: Bulldogs coach Ron Griffiths believes Mitch Cullen is a captain in waiting at Kurri Kurri. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

LEADER: Bulldogs coach Ron Griffiths believes Mitch Cullen is a captain in waiting at Kurri Kurri. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

“You can see that they all really trust each other and that they’re enjoying what’s happening with their footy even though they’re not winning.

“You look at Jordy Mitchell, Reid Alchin  and Brock Hollis, they were untested and have been extremely good for us.

“We’ve got other guys like Lachie Macbeth, Lachie Hill they hadn’t played much first grade and they have acquitted themselves quite well.

“Mark Walker is another one, he was a debutant this year.

“We’ve got a real lot of young guys who are playing well and with a season under their belt they will be a lot better again.

“I think the one thing it has highlighted is that how good that group of young guys are.”

Griffiths said forward Michael Steele had been another of the young group of players to take their game to the next level.

“They talk in football terms about being the guy that everyone wants to play beside and Mick is that guy,” he said.

“You can trust he is going to do his job every time. It’s very rare he doesn’t deliver and he is only 23. 

“If he gives away a penalty it’s because we need it. He is a great reader of the game and when to influence the tempo.”

Griffiths said the club’s depth was tested with Peter Cronin missing for the season with injury, Terence Seu Seu missing large slices of the year and the departure of the Walsh brother.

“The Walsh boys leaving brought a lot of the team’s planning for the season unstuck,” Griffiths said.

“Every club needs some good halves and we were relying on them, it’s disappointing from that point of view.

“The positive from that is that it has allowed young leaders come to the fore. We probably don’t see that unless you face a bit of adversity.

“The culture we have tried to attain all year we’ve finally been able to get close to that through some adversity.

“What we’ve gone through has allowed the players to become different footballers and different people.

“It gives us a real clear picture of where we are at and what we need to move forward.

“You bring in a few guys with the right attitude around those guys and it’s a completely different club.”