The coaching staff opted to impose a punishment, as is typical procedure at NRL clubs, by requiring him to wrestle up to a dozen of his teammates for an extended amount of time at the end of training.

A week later, he requested time off for personal reasons and has not returned to training since. The club is still paying his contract.

The Bulldogs declined to respond when approached on Tuesday night. According to the Daily Telegraph, centre Braidon Burns has departed the club after missing a training session due to a hamstring injury. The Herald has been informed that he trained on Tuesday.

A clear and troubling news Bulldogs key player ‘punishment’ of player who walked out and didn’t return
A clear and troubling news Bulldogs key player ‘punishment’ of player who walked out and didn’t return

It comes after the Herald reported on Monday that Bulldogs staff were aware of a text message that has been doing the rounds in recent days that claimed up to eight players were unhappy at the club under the coaching of Cameron Ciraldo.

One of the grievances allegedly raised by some current players, and potential recruits, was a frustration over Ciraldo’s workload demands.

The message claimed that Ciraldo’s expectation for players to be around for training from 8am to 5.30pm was unrealistic and a deterrent for some players to join or remain at the club.

The Dogs’ performances of late, which have left many questioning the commitment of the players, speaks to a problem at the club. Those concerned about how hard or long training is appear to have their cards marked, with the Bulldogs expected to make a raft of changes once their season ends this weekend.

Ciraldo has a proven track record of achievement, having collaborated with Panthers coach Ivan Cleary to win two premierships at Penrith.

He has recruited players who have previously played for successful teams, like Stephen Crichton (Panthers), Jaeman Salmon (Panthers), Liam Knight (Rabbitohs), Blake Taafe (Rabbitohs), and Siua Taukeiaho.

Ciraldo is likely to hold his weekly pre-game press conference on Wednesday.

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