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8 hours ago
New Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg has pulled his club out of the player market until the board decides on the future of coach Steve Folkes.
After a week in which the best coach, Wayne Bennett, found a new job and three internationals, including one of their own, confirmed moves, Greenberg has decided to let the dust settle before his cashed-up club makes any more moves.
And the first order of business now is for the Bulldogs board to decide whether to renew Folkes's contract or seek a new mentor.
"We're talking internally about players we want to talk to but the coaching position sort of comes before that and we want to make sure we lock that in," said Greenberg.
"The board doesn't meet for another couple of weeks yet ... but obviously (a decision is wanted) sooner rather than later."
It has been a crazy week of upheaval at NRL clubs, with North Queensland, Canberra and St George Illawarra naming new coaches for 2009 and star players Israel Folau (Melbourne to Brisbane), Luke Lewis (Penrith to Souths) and Willie Tonga (Bulldogs to Cowboys) all signing transfer deals.
With money burning a hole in their pockets after losing stars Willie Mason, Mark O'Meley, Brent Sherwin and now Tonga, the Dogs were expected to be the biggest movers and shakers in the market.
But their audacious bid for Folau failed, a three-year $1 million offer for Cowboys enforcer Carl Webb was turned down and they could not retain centre Tonga.
Greenberg admits the coaching uncertainty is not helping recruitment but they won't rush a decision on Folkes even if the talent drain continues.
The best of the stars left on the open market now are Manly's Steve Bell, Parramatta's Brett Finch, Dragon Matt Cooper and Rooster Anthony Tupou.
There is exciting rising talent on the market - like Souths Eddie Paea, Dragon Josh Morris and Tiger Chris Heighington - but the Dogs need a marquee signing to lift the spirits of fans.
The biggest complaint against the previous regime was the talent lost to the salary cap, with Roy Asotasi, Braith Anasta, Steve Price, Johnathan Thurston and Nate Myles a selection of big names to walk out of Belmore.
But Greenberg is adamant that a big-name recruit is not a high priority for 2009, rather securing their own rising talent as they aim to breed from within.
"There's no doubt we've got some money to spend in 2009 so we will be out there," he said.
"But we're not going to rush it and we're going to make sure we spend it wisely and get the best value for our money.
"Our view is we want to make sure we make the right decision and no external influence is going to make us rush those decisions.
"We want to do it properly, we want to do it right.
"If you have a look at our squad we believe that internally we have some real talent here so we want to sure up our own system before we start looking externally as well."