Newly elected Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs chair Lynne Anderson says her first message in her new capacity as leader of the proud 83-year-old club is to NRL coach Dean Pay, his staff and players.
“My message is keep doing what they’re doing. I have loved what I’m hearing that everything is very much on track,” Anderson told NRL.com on Sunday after winning six seats on the seven-person board at the annual general meeting, ousting Ray Dib as chairman.
“We will not get in the players’ or Deano’s way. We’ll build a better support base around them, for a better Bulldogs.”
Several high-profile players in recent weeks had called for the status quo to remain, openly backing Dib and his executive team.
Anderson said there would be no recriminations whatsoever.
As head of the Reform 2018 Bulldogs ticket, she had always stated during the election campaign that the jobs of Pay, who took over from Des Hasler in September last year, and chief executive Andrew Hill, who took over from Raelene Castle in November, were safe if she took over the reins from Dib.
That happened at Canterbury Leagues Club on Sunday where around 700 of the 915 eligible members voted Anderson into power, along with her husband and former premiership-winning coach Chris Anderson, former club captain Steve Price, fellow former premiership winner Paul Dunn, former Leagues club boss John Ballesty, and local businessman and junior league organiser John Khoury.
The only member from the Dib ticket to be re-elected was another club legend and former premiership-winning captain, Steve Mortimer.
Dib has been a long-standing powerbroker for not only the Bulldogs but NRL clubs in general, when it came to dealing with the ARL Commission and the NRL.
“I have not spoken to him but he had 11 years on the board so that’s hard yakka and the club is grateful for his tireless work. I know this will hit him hard,” Anderson said of Dib’s significant contribution.
“For all the (former) board members I want to thank them. I’ve seen a few of them already and told them that.
“But the members have spoken. It’s time for a change.”
Anderson has little time to celebrate. The ongoing legal action involving Hasler and the Bulldogs over his dismissal last year returns to the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.
“I need to get updated on that,” Anderson told NRL.com. “I have no idea on the details since legal action has commenced. It’s one of the many things I need to be brought up to speed.”
Anderson has already spoken to CEO Andrew Hill.
“I had a good meeting with him after the vote today, and I’ll be catching up with him throughout the coming days.”
Sunday’s vote is drenched in history. Anderson will become the first female chairperson at the Bulldogs after Castle was their first woman CEO in May 2013, appointed by Dib.
But Anderson’s election continues the DNA of club patriarch Peter “Bullfrog” Moore, who was club secretary/chief executive from 1969-1995 during which time the club won four of its eight premierships.
“Dad always said the fans are not fools and they showed that again today,” Anderson said.
She listed a nine-point plan on the Reform 2018 Ticket website but she said her quest was simple.
“I would love the opportunity to help get the Bulldogs back on top, on and off the field.
“More than most rugby league fans, Bulldogs fans have been spoilt since the 70s. Not only have we enjoyed incredible successes on the field, we have been admired and envied beyond rugby league as a great club, a strong leader, with an indomitable spirit, and one that lived by its proud family club values.
“We were a part of more than a club, a family community – one we were immensely proud of. Over the last few years, these strengths have diminished – and that has been our own doing,” she said.
“I have no doubt that former board have given their all to the Bulldogs, worked tirelessly and with commitment to our great club. It is now time for fresh thinking, new blood.”
Eighteen candidates stood on Sunday with the top seven being voted onto the board.
The final results were: Lynne Anderson 471 votes, John Ballesty 448, Steve Price 415, Chris Anderson 397, Paul Dunn 395, Steve Mortimer 392, John Khoury 382, Arthur Coorey 364, Nicholas Dimas 360, Peter McMahon 357, Ray Dib 346, Anter Isaac 343, Joanne Farr 310, Anne Sinclair 304, Anthony Elias 96, Luke Brailey 38, Adrian Turner 36, Andrew Gifford 30.