Raymond Faitala-Mariner opens up on Bulldogs exit, Dragons contract

Raymond Faitala-Mariner has opened up on his Bulldogs exit, revealing the choice was fully his.

After months of hypothesis over his future, Faitala-Mariner was launched from the ultimate two years of his contract with the Bulldogs in late January to signal a two-year cope with the Dragons.

The 30-year-old advisedThe Sydney Morning Herald that he was not compelled out of the Bulldogs, he simply wanted a change of surroundings.

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“They weren’t pushing me out the door in any respect,” Faitala-Mariner stated.

“It was simply this chance that arose. I thought of it, spoke to my companion, to my household and fogeys, (and) they stated possibly a change was what I wanted. I took their recommendation and I’m glad I did.

“Now that I used to be in camp with the Dragons this week, I can see why the change was wanted.”

The transfer got here after tumultuous six months with the Bulldogs. Faitala-Mariner, who was appointed membership captain in the beginning of final season, discovered himself on the outer after difficult coach Cameron Ciraldo on behalf of a few of his teammates.

A number of Polynesian gamers reportedly approached Faitala-Mariner with their issues concerning the membership’s tradition and coaching regime. He relayed these issues to membership workers just for Ciraldo to double down on his expectations.

There was additionally speak that Faitala-Mariner — predominantly a second-rower — was not proud of having to fill in at prop.

He was granted permission by the Bulldogs in September to barter with rivals earlier than it was reported in November that he was advised to avoid pre-season coaching.

After a gathering with common supervisor of soccer Phil Gould, Faitala-Mariner returned to coaching later that month.

Faitala-Mariner advised the Herald that his preliminary absence from coaching was “only a miscommunication” and that he at all times had open communication with Ciraldo and Gould.

“(Reviews had been) saying they didn’t need me there, however each time one thing got here out within the media, I’ve at all times had a dialog with Ciraldo and Gus. They at all times confirmed with me that it wasn’t true,” he stated.

“I don’t know the place it got here from. Each time issues had been out within the media saying they had been purchasing me round and whatnot, I might at all times go to the coach, and Gus can be there at instances, they usually gave me their phrase, they stated it wasn’t true and didn’t know the place it was coming from.

“I took their phrase for it and that was that. There was nothing roughly, we simply carried on with coaching.

“Going by the robust instances has ready me for this yr. It’s made me extra resilient, extra ready for no matter comes my means. Nothing can break me.”

Faitala-Mariner first joined the Bulldogs in mid-2016 from the Warriors and went on to play 102 video games for the membership over seven-and-a-half seasons.

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2020 was his greatest yr in blue and white with him being awarded the Coaches Award after taking part in each recreation of the season. However after that he had a horror run with damage.

Faitala-Mariner solely managed two video games in 2021, 13 video games in 2022 and 14 video games in 2023 with a hamstring damage and pneumonia cruelling him within the latter.

His exit means no participant from the 2021 squad remains to be on the membership after a number of clean-outs.

When prompted on that he stated: “I’ve heard that just a few instances and the boys textual content me saying, ‘You’re gone! You had been the final man standing!’”

However he has no ailing feeling in direction of the membership he was so obsessed with.

“That’s footy,” Faitala-Mariner stated.

“The membership has a imaginative and prescient they usually must do what they should do to get what they need. If that’s the course they’re getting in, then I’m all for it. I’ve obtained nothing however respect and love for that membership.

“The place I’m at in my profession, a change was wanted for me to hopefully take my recreation to the subsequent degree.

“It does sadden me to go away the membership that I actually love; Belmore is my second dwelling. It was very onerous to say goodbye and go away, however I’ve to take a look at the chance for myself and my future.

“That’s what I did, I put myself and my household first.

“One factor I do want we had once I was there’s a little bit of success. Hopefully, they do properly this yr and within the years to come back.

“From the summer season I had there, it appears to be heading in that course. Cameron Ciraldo is doing an excellent job on the joint, tradition smart, and the usual he’s setting, it’s very elite.

“There’s no malice in direction of the membership from my finish.”

Faitala-Mariner is relishing the membership change and declared he can get again to the shape that earnt him a New Zealand jersey in 2015 and 2016.

He’s additionally loving the teaching of Shane Flanagan, who has stuffed him with “plenty of confidence” already.

“Being simply in camp with the Dragons for per week has ignited one thing in me. Being in a spot for therefore lengthy, typically you will get snug.

“The change was wanted for me. Now I’ve stepped out of my dwelling, so to talk, and am on the market testing the waters and being uncovered and susceptible, it’s one thing I wanted.

“Being round a spot I’m not so accustomed to is bringing the perfect out of me. Being below Shane Flanagan, an skilled premiership-winning coach, with the conversations we’ve already had, provides me plenty of confidence.

“He’s making me really feel a precedence and whenever you make a participant really feel that means, he tells you to leap and also you say how excessive. I might run by a brick wall for a coach like that.”

Initially printed as ‘No malice’: Ex-Bulldogs captain silences exit hearsay