- Brent Naden has decided to leave the club after the departure of his coach Trent Barrett
- Bulldogs officials were on Tuesday considering an interim coach for the remainder of the season as they prepare to begin the search for Barrett’s long-term replacement.
- The signing of Naden bolsters the Tiger’s depth in the outside backs after they were last weekend forced to partner rookies Junior Tupou and Junior Pauga
Star recruit Brent Naden has become the first Bulldogs player to leave in the wake of Trent Barrett’s departure as coach and may line up for Wests Tigers against his former teammates on Friday night.
Naden’s switch of clubs happened so quickly that he was initially selected in the Canterbury side for the Leichhardt Oval clash but was named in the Tigers squad when the round 11 teams were announced at 4pm Tuesday.
It is understood that the former Penrith center began making moves about switching clubs when Bulldogs players learned that Barrett’s tenure as coach was about to come to an end after last Friday night’s 16-6 loss to Newcastle.
With Barrett’s resignation ahead of an emergency board meeting on Monday and up to a third of the squad affected by the ‘flu, Canterbury players had been given leave until Wednesday.
Bulldogs officials were on Tuesday considering an interim coach for the remainder of the season as they prepare to begin search for Barrett’s long term replacement.
However, whoever is in charge on Friday night will now have to face the prospect of Naden lining up against the Bulldogs rather than in their backline after he joined the Tigers on a deal until the end of the 2023 season.
Naden, who played for the Indigenous team in this year’s All Stars clash, had a close relationship with Barrett from his time on the Panthers coaching staff and joined Canterbury this season to play under him.
He is also good friends with Tigers fullback Daine Laurie after playing alongside him at Penrith, as well as prop James Tamou.
The signing of Naden bolsters the Tiger’s depth in the outside backs after they were last weekend forced to partner rookies Junior Tupou and Junior Pauga on the right edge in the absence of Asu Kepaoa, Oliver Gildart and David Nofoaluma.
Kepaoa returns this week, with Tyrone Peachey named as the other Tigers centre but Naden and Gildart have been included in an extended 24-man squad.