Bulldogs co-captain Reed Mahoney says he supports coach Cameron Ciraldo’s training methods as the struggling NRL club continues to deal with the fallout from revelations about player punishments for indiscretions.
Ciraldo had to defend himself earlier this week after it was revealed one of his players had taken mental-health leave after being made to wrestle up to 30 teammates as punishment for arriving late to training.
Mediation between the club and player, who is contracted for next season but yet to return to training, failed and the situation could escalate to legal action.
Mahoney, who like Ciraldo is in his first year at the Bulldogs, has been in contact with the unnamed player and said the club was doing a “a great job” of looking after his welfare.
The hooker said hard training was part of life being a professional athlete and standards had to lift at the club, which has failed to make the finals since 2016.
“Everyone‘s on-board,” Mahoney said on Friday.
“Training‘s always hard. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s hard to get here (to the NRL) but it’s also harder to stay.
“You come to training sometimes and you might feel sore and that, but sometimes you’ve just got to get through it. That’s part of life being a professional athlete.
“As players, we’re all on-board and we’re willing to do whatever it takes this week especially but going forward as well.”
Mahoney said the path to success was a “hard road” and the players had to be ready to do the work.
“It‘s not going to happen overnight,” he said.
“We knew it was going to be a hard road and we’re trying to do everything we can to get the results on the weekend.
“There’s always things you can improve around your culture, whether that’s coaching or off the field or anything.
“I know as a group and this staff, we’re working really hard to make sure we know what’s right. At the moment, that’s the standards that we train by and the standards that we live by.”
Former Penrith premiership player Viliame Kikau, who worked with Ciraldo at the Panthers where he was an assistant before reuniting with him at the Bulldogs this season, said the strict methods were consistent with the methods used by the back-to-back premiers.
“I‘ve been training under ’Ciro’ for that long now so that was sort of the same training load,” he said.
Panthers premiership coach Ivan Cleary also backed his former assistant.
“I support Cameron 100 per cent,” Cleary said.
“If you want to change things, change culture in any workplace, it’s not always going to be smooth. From the outside looking in, they’re just going through those growing pains.”
The Bulldogs will close out their season against the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.
Originally published as Canterbury players support coach Cameron Ciraldo’s tough methods