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Bulldogs CEO embraces interim coach Aaron Warburton for top job

The next ideal long-term coach for Bulldogs officials could be right under their noses.

That is the opinion of CEO Aaron Warburton, who has big wraps on current interim mentor Michael Potter.

Potter – who took over from Trent Barrett after his sudden resignation three weeks ago – has plenty of respect in rugby league after previous stints at Catalans, St Helens, Bradford and Wests Tigers.

He was named 2008 Super League Coach of the Year while at Catalans Dragons. He is also a premiership player with the blue-and-whites from their 1984 and 1985 teams.

Despite the fact the Bulldogs are looking far and wide for a replacement for Barrett next season, Potter has made a good first impression on Warburton.

“Mick has been great,” Warburton told bettingsite.com.au.

“He’s been level-headed – he knows that there’s a huge task ahead of him, but he has (13) games to go under his current contract.

“And he knows that the job is quite simple – it’s to bring the group of guys together in the midst of an underperforming start to the season.

“And he’s got the full backing of everyone to get the job done.

“He comes in with the DNA already there. We don’t have to teach him too much about Bulldogs ways.”

Warburton said the Canterbury club had fielded no shortage of interested potential coaches to start in the role next season, with media speculation putting forward names such as Brad Fittler, Cameron Ciraldo and Shane Flanagan.

“We’ve had plenty of interest, but we haven’t rushed into anything and we’re just supporting Mick as much as we can at the moment,” the Bulldogs boss said.

With Potter’s most recent background being at the helm of feeder team Mounties, suddenly the Bulldogs have no shortage of depth.

The first-grade outfit can draw upon players from Mounties, as well as the Bulldogs’ born-again NSW Cup side, which sits in fourth place with seven wins and four losses.

There is also plenty of excitement at the Belmore club regarding the fact it now has an official connection with Western Cydesdales, the Toowoomba-based franchise looking to enter the Queensland Cup next year.

“We’ve got a lot of guys in the reserve-grade competition who we can lean on. It’s nice that we’ve been able to bring NSW Cup back to Canterbury this year, while still having our relationship with Mounties,” Warburton said.

“With Mick having coached Mounties and now coming in – he has an eye on a lot of those guys.

“You’re talking 50-60 reserve graders, which is a really good opportunity for them.

“Throw in Toowoomba and what we have in the northern New South Wales regions, and eyes on players isn’t a problem.”

The last-placed Bulldogs are faced with a huge task against the first-placed Panthers in Round 13 action at BlueBet Stadium on Friday night.

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