New Wests Tigers recruit Brent Naden says it isn't in Trent Barrett's nature to quit, and hinted that his former Canterbury coach was hard done by.
Barrett's Bulldogs tenure was brought to an end on Monday after presiding over a 2-8 start to the 2022 NRL season.
Naden, who was recruited by Barrett from Penrith, then completed a rapid switch from Belmore to take up an 18-month contract at the Tigers on Tuesday.
The centre set up a try in his Tigers debut on Friday, which coincidentally came in a 36-22 win over Canterbury, and said he couldn't help but feel sorry for Barrett.
"Baz had a lot of time for me and I have a lot of time for him," Naden said.
"It's hard, it's round 10. There's a lot of football ahead of those boys.
"If you think about all the games they've played they've only lost by a couple so the Dogs aren't far off. Once they click they are going to click and they'll take off."
Naden was surprised by Barrett's decision to step down and revealed the pair had exchanged texts in the aftermath of their respective departures.
While publicly at least the Bulldogs have said that Barrett walked away from the club, there is an underlying feeling that the former Manly mentor was pushed out of the door.
Naden said: "I don't think it's in him to quit".
He added: "He (Barrett) would have felt a lot of pressure from football and he's been in the game a long time as a player and as a coach."
Naden wasn't expecting to play against the Bulldogs but with injuries keeping first-choice centres James Roberts and Oliver Gildart out of the side he was immediately thrust into action at Leichhardt Oval.
The 26-year-old said he was excited to begin the next chapter of his career and explained his relief that the home crowd would now be cheering for him, rather than against him.
"It is a great place to play, I used to hate playing here and being on the opposition team," he added.
"Now it's one of those I'll circle on the calendar from now on, especially on a Sunday afternoon."
Australian Associated Press
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