Bulldogs centre Reece Jaeger has described his role in the side’s leadership group as, in part, being “a little bit hard on the guys” when required.
In what is believed to be a first at the club, new Bulldogs coach John Hickey has named Jaeger, Aaron Donnelly, Matt Brady and new signing Matt Baker as the leadership group members for the coming season.
If we need to reassess anything, we can do that. But yeah, it’s a great idea.Reece Jaeger
Jaeger – who returned to Gunnedah last season after playing in under-20s for the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney – said the leadership group “would make sure everyone is accountable for what they do throughout the year”.
“It’s more of less a group that’s got that experience – been there, done that sort of thing,” said Jaeger, who also played NSW Cup for Newtown before a lengthy stint in Wollongong first grade.
“And it just takes a bit of pressure off the coach … it gives the group a bit of a voice as players to go back to the coach, where we can express what the group’s feeling, sort of thing.”
“Then with our training side of things – how we’re feeling,” he added. “We can all sit down as a group, and then the leadership group can have a chat with John [Hickey] and make some decisions, really based around the players – how we’re feeling, how everything’s going throughout the year.
“If we need to reassess anything, we can do that. But yeah, it’s a great idea.”
Through the leadership group, Jaeger said the players “can take control of what we want to take control of”.
Jaeger has previously played under the leadership-group structure elsewhere, and he said it worked.
“Everything gets put back into our hands, so we can’t really be unhappy about anything that happens,” he said, in reference to the players.
The new season starts later than usual, in early May.