By Adrian Proszenko
30 November 2019 - Sydney Morning Herald
Canterbury will go into the 2020 season without the distraction of a bitter battle of control for its board after nominations closed for the February elections.
There will be no rebel ticket jockeying for votes at the ballot box, with only four independents to contest what will likely be only one available spot on the seven-member board. The result is a show of confidence in chair Lynne Anderson and her directors, who swept to power at the last poll when they unseated the Ray Dib-led board.
Two of the four independent nominees - Peter McMahon and Anthony Elias - had previously sat on the board when Dib was chairman. Dib himself chose not to contest the elections.
The other two candidates are Nicholas Dimas and Adrian Turner.
The incumbent board consists of John Ballesty, Paul Dunn, Steve Mortimer, John Khoury, Joe Thomas and Peter Mortimer, with Steve Mortimer indicating he will come off early in the new year. If the incumbents retain their seats, the four new battle it out for Mortimer's vacant spot.
The previous election resulted in months of adverse headlines as 19 candidates attempted to wrest control of the ‘family club'. However, it appears there will be a period of relative stability at Belmore ahead of the annual general meeting on February 9.
With coach Dean Pay re-signed and the Anderson directors to hold majority regardless of the result of the vote, Canterbury is poised for two more years of relative political stability.
Back to Belmore patron Luke Brailey chose not to contest this election after being a candidate in the last one. A spokesperson for the organisation said they will consider writing to members this month to endorse candidates.
“Bulldogs Chair Lynne Anderson and the board she leads have started to produce the necessary remedies to get the relationship between the football club and Back to Belmore in a position far better than it has ever been since our inception in 2005,” the spokesperson said.
“The NSW Government has committed $2 billion to upgrading sporting venues in Sydney and the executive committee rightly expects to see a new business case for Belmore Sports Ground in the next 24 months, but we finally have a Bulldogs board that works in unison with Back to Belmore and treats the organisation as a partner rather than an obstacle.”
The Bulldogs have re-signed a number of their most promising off-contract players, although not all of them are in a position to enjoy a full preseason. Captain Josh Jackson (groin) and hooker Jeremy Marshall-Smith (shoulder) are out for eight weeks after undergoing minor surgeries. Playmaker Kieran Foran remains intent on a comeback despite his latest setback, a serious shoulder injury that could make him the first player to miss an entire season after suffering the injury in a Test match.