NRL 2022: Cameron Ciraldo signs as the new coach of the Canterbury Bulldogs for 2023 with a five-year contract

The Bulldogs’ search for a new head coach is over after they finally found sought-after Panther assistant Cameron Ciraldo after a three-month search.

It’s official – Cameron Ciraldo is the new coach of the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The Penrith defensive coach and senior assistant to Ivan Cleary has agreed to a stunning five-year deal to lead the Bulldogs from 2023.

Ciraldo will enter the NRL oven as the youngest manager in the game when he turns 38 in October.

Ciraldo, who is well respected by the Penrith Playgroup, broke the news to the players at Sunday’s training session.

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With the option to remain at Penrith as an assistant in 2023 and beyond, Ciraldo is said to have told the players his decision to leave the Premiers was extremely difficult and very emotional.

The big career move is based on the belief that he is ready to take the next step in his coaching career and have the opportunity to lead a strong Sydney club with financial backing, a rich history and a developing squad.

Ciraldo’s strong relationship with Bulldogs GM Phil Gould, dating back to when Gould worked at Penrith, was also an important factor.

The arrival of the rookie coach at Belmore will almost guarantee star fifth Matt Burton – whom Ciraldo previously coached at Penrith – will be permanently committed to the club.

Widely regarded as the next best aspiring coach, Ciraldo will join the NRL after completing a long apprenticeship during which he has progressed through the Penrith coaching ranks.

Ciraldo has proven to be an integral part of every player’s development for Penrith’s 2021 Premiership side, having first taken on a coaching role as the club’s New York Under-20 assistant in 2014.

The following year he was promoted to New York U20 head coach and led the team to the Premier League in 2015.

He was named NYC U20 Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2016.

Ciraldo also took over as interim first class coach of Penrith for the final six rounds of the 2018 season following the sacking of Anthony Griffin.

Ciraldo, revered for his work ethic and attention to detail, was also Country Origin’s assistant coach between 2014 and 2017, while also coaching Italy in 2016.

Ciraldo’s decision to take on former Canterbury manager Trent Barrett and current caretaker manager Mick Potter was decided after months of discussions with Gould.

Those discussions began after Ciraldo canceled a five-year deal from the Wests Tigers last June.

Ciraldo’s departure will mean Cleary will need two new assistant coaches at Penrith in 2023 after attacking coach Andrew Webster also left to take over as Warriors coach.

Ciraldo will finish the season at Penrith and has told players his aim is to guide them to back-to-back Premierships.

Originally released as NRL 2022, Cameron Ciraldo has signed a five-year contract as the new Canterbury Bulldogs coach for 2023 NRL 2022: Cameron Ciraldo signs as the new coach of the Canterbury Bulldogs for 2023 with a five-year contract

Nate Jones

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