DEAN'S PAY DAY: Hervey Bay title-winner appointed to Bulldogs role
DEAN Pay is absolutely the right man for the Bulldogs' NRL coach's role according to former teammate and good friend Guy Meredith.
Pay was confirmed as the Bulldogs new head coach on Thursday. It came nine days after former coach Des Hasler and the club agreed to part ways.
For Pay, it is his biggest gig in a life-long rugby league career that included a stint at the Fraser Coast.
Pay, the former prop and second-rower who played 184 first grade games for the Bulldogs and Parramatta Eels, coached the Hervey Bay Seagulls to a Group One Rugby League premiership in 2001.
The side included the likes of former Cronulla Shark Andrew Neave, current trainer Meredith, warhorse Adam Roderick and senior president Paul Gerchow, who featured in the Seagulls A-grade side in the second half of the 2017 season.
Meredith grew up with Pay in Dubbo.
They played footy together at school, toured New Zealand as part of the Australian Schoolboys team, and were even graded together in 1988.
"I went off to Brookvale and he went to Belmore," Meredith said. "After a few years I fell out the back door to pub footy but he went on and did everything."
Pay played at the Bulldogs from 1989 to 1995. He won the 1995 ARL premiership at front-row in his final game for the club, before he linked with Parramatta for his final four years of top-level footy.
He played 12 games for New South Wales from 1994 to 1998, winning three series in 1994, 96 and 97, and played for Australia 10 times.
He served as current Queensland coach Kevin Walters' assistant at Catalans Dragons in 2009, and took on Melbourne's under-20s in 2010.
Pay's on-field Origin success translated to the clipboard, where he steered NSW to five straight Origin titles between 2012-16.
Meredith said Pay would be a good fit at the Bulldogs. He is a club legend, a premiership-winner, and commanded respect from his players and peers.
"We went in with all of the aspirations, but he went on to do it all," Meredith said.
"He played and won State of Origin, grand finals - you don't get those opportunities often. When he played (at Hervey Bay) it felt quite comfortable as we'd played together since we were 10.
"He was front row, I played plenty of six, and Andrew (Neave) played some games at halfback."
In a statement that confirmed his appointment, Pay said it was a "tremendous honour to be offered the role.
"The Bulldogs have a great history and tradition and I'm looking forward to the chance to work with a talented group of players, where respect and discipline will be the cornerstones of how we go about our business," Pay said.