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Hughes Distraught at Dismissal
Former Bulldogs football manager Garry Hughes claimed he had done nothing to justify being sacked by the National Rugby League club.
An emotional Hughes, speaking for the first time since his shock axing by the club's board, said he was shattered by the decision and maintained he was simply following orders from Bulldogs management.
Hughes became the first casualty of the Bulldogs sex scandal last night, sacked for failing to enforce the club's code of conduct and for "not acting in players' interests".
Chairman Doctor George Peponis confirmed on Friday the decision was made in relation to breaches at Coffs Harbour - the scene of the alleged sexual assault on February 22 - and the players' failure to follow a club directive when they dressed poorly for subsequent police interviews.
"I maintain that I've done nothing wrong," Hughes said.
"I've carried out instructions from senior management as they've requested."
Chief executive Steve Mortimer addressed the players this morning over the issue and coach Steve Folkes said he was disappointed he would no longer be working alongside his former right-hand man and teammate.
"He is a good friend, terrific at his job," Folkes said.
"I'm disappointed that the board has seen fit to make that decision but my job is to coach the football side and not get involved in that sort of stuff so that's what I will be doing."
Hughes and his two brothers Mark and Graeme played alongside Mortimer and Peponis - two of the men responsible for his sacking - in the 1980 grand final.
His three sons - Glen, Corey and Steven - remain members of the club, with Corey in the first grade squad for Saturday night's clash with Cronulla.
However, his 30 years of loyal service to the Bulldogs wasn't enough to save his job.
"Whoever made the decision I trust will not divide a great club," Hughes said.
"I know there are many great people at the Bulldogs and they will continue to see the club stays strong."
Bulldogs board member Peter Mortimer, another member of the 1980
grand final-winning side, described the decision to axe Hughes as the most difficult in his time at the club.
"Everyone in that boardroom had played with Garry at some stage and recognised him as a good friend and a good bloke," Mortimer said.
"He's got tremendous character Garry Hughes. He'll stay strong at this club."
Meanwhile, Rugby League Professionals Association (RLPA) president Tony Butterfield said would arrange a meeting with Steve Mortimer to discuss the fines imposed on players.
Two players were fined - $10,000 and $5,000 - for their failure to wear appropriate attire to police interviews while several others had $5000 suspended fines placed on them.
"On the face of it, it would appear that the scale of the fines are excessive and I will be seeking further details at a meeting with the club," Butterfield said.
"The first step is to try to talk it through and try to understand what they used to come to this conclusion.
"Everyone thinks footballers are on a million dollars. But $10,000 is a lot of money."
Players arrived at the Sydney Police Centre for interviews in T-shirts, shorts and thongs - disobeying a club directive to dress appropriately.