Ciraldo signs lengthy deal to put bite back into Bulldogs

Cameron Ciraldo has been handed a five-year as the new coach of the Canterbury Bulldogs on a five-year deal.

The deal had been long-rumoured, given Ciraldo was spotted at a lunch meeting with several key figures within the Bulldogs organisation in late July.

The Panthers assistant has been one of the hottest properties in the NRL, with his name linked to every available coaching role, and his arrival is a massive coup for the Dogs after he turned back an approach from the Wests Tigers for a similar timeframe.

Ciraldo, 37, has been in the system at Penrith since 2014 and coached the club in an interim capacity in 2019 between the departure of Anthony Griffin and the return of Ivan Cleary. He has also filled in the top job this year, when Cleary missed fixtures due to knee surgery.

He worked under Cantebury general manager Phil Gould during his time as Panthers boss where he famously was known for a five-year plan to rebuild the club which continued well beyond that term.

In a statement released by the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon, they said “As the club continues to build for long-term sustained success, we are pleased Cameron shares the vision of ensuring our football programs are best-in-class.

“With respect to Cameron and the Penrith Panthers, we will not be making any further comment until the end of the season.”

Penrith CEO Matt Cameron congratulated Ciraldo on his appointment in a club statement.

“Although we’re saddened to see Cameron depart the club at the end of the season, we’re thrilled to see him progress to the next chapter of his NRL coaching career.

“A highly respected member of the coaching staff, Cameron has played his part in making our club a source of community pride, and was influential in providing an environment for players to thrive.”

The Dogs have been rejuvenated under interim coach Mick Potter, who came in to take the team after the sacking of Trent Barrett in May.

Ciraldo is set to take over from 2023, and will coach the rest of the year at Penrith as they look for back-to-back Premierships. He is thought to have informed the Panthers of his decision at training today.

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