Canterbury playmaker Jake Averillo hopes Phil Gould’s arrival can make circumstances like Sunday night’s clash with South Sydney a thing of the past for the local junior.
Gould’s late-night signing on Friday looms as the biggest recruit at the Bulldogs in years, with the former Penrith supremo now charged with turning Canterbury around.
After four-and-a-half out of the finals and in battles to avoid the wooden spoon Gould’s list of issues is long, but those at the club insist a corner has been turned.
But if there is one thing Gould specialises in, it’s getting the most out of junior nurseries.
Which is where Averillo comes in.
A product of Bankstown, the halfback will run out onto Cbus Super Stadium as the only local junior in the Bulldogs’ NRL team against Souths.
There remain four other juniors in their squad, but none of Brandon Wakehman, Jayden Okunbor, Tuipulotu Katoa or Chris Patolo are expected to play.
But Averillo knows there is more out there.
“There’s a massive junior league there in Canterbury Bankstown with a lot of talent,” Averillo said.
“So it’d be really good for a guy like him to come through and get the next crop of boys coming through into the NRL.
“There’s a lot of teams going around and all the Bulldogs fans are obviously fanatics and we’ve got a big supportive fanbase.
“They just love the Bulldogs, so to be able to play in the Bulldogs systems, they really are keen to play for the Bulldogs.”
Gould voiced his desire to grow the club from within when he confirmed his appointment on Friday night, while also indicating he would head to the bush.
The proof of that success is in the pudding at Penrith.
While he had a bigger junior nursery out west, two years after his departure 22 of Penrith’s 28-man top squad played under-20s at the club.
Gould’s arrival also comes with former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen still working closely with the club’s high performance staff.
“That’s a pretty good partnership, I don’t think too many other teams have that talent in their managers,” Averillo said.
Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson also believed Gould could help turn the club’s roster around.
“Just having someone like Gus will obviously help signing players have a higher calibre,” Jackson said.
“And then around the whole organisation as well as staff, he obviously knows how to run a successful club.”
Meanwhile Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett confirmed each of his State of Origin players would back up on the Gold Coast.