Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Cameron Ciraldo will be joining the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs in 2023 on a five-year deal after turning down an offer from the Wests Tigers.
In recent years Ciraldo has been an assistant coach to Ivan Cleary at back-to-back premiers the Penrith Panthers.
The transition from assistant to head coach will be made a little easier for Ciraldo as Matt Burton and Viliame Kikau who played under the 37-year-old in Penrith.
Ciraldo has also worked for Bulldogs general manager Phil ‘Gus’ Gould in the past when Gould was in the same role at Penrith and Ciraldo was the club’s premiership-winning Holden Cup coach.
The former forward has spoken to Channel Nine about the move to the Bulldogs and working under Gould.
“I know one reason it just felt right and it felt comfortable and it’s a proud club with a proud history and I see the potential there in the next few years and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Ciraldo.
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) October 12, 2022
“I’ve known Gus for a long time, he’s been really good for me and done a lot for me throughout my career so to work with him again is exciting and I know that as a young coach he can really help me.
“Because there’s a lot you’ve got to deal with and at different stages, I’m going to want to focus on the team first and let him worry about a lot of other peripheral stuff.”
The Bulldogs last full-time coach Trent Barrett had an almost identical path to the club as Ciraldo.
Following a stint as head coach at the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Barrett regained notoriety as an assistant at the Panthers.
Ciraldo will be hoping that he and Barrett’s only similarity is that they both coached at the Bulldogs after a period at the Panthers as Canterbury Bankstown’s former coach left the club after being released in early 2022 as one of the least successful coaches in club history.
Under Michael Potter the Bulldogs found some form and managed to escape from the bottom four in 2022 but it is now up to Ciraldo to take the reigns and continue the club’s rise.