25 May 2017

Castle to step down at Bulldogs

2:49 pm on 25 May 2017

The former head of Netball New Zealand, Ralene Castle, has resigned as chief executive of National Rugby League club Canterbury with still a year to run on her contract.

Castle, who became the first woman to run a NRL club in 15 years when she was appointed in 2013, will step down at the end of the season.

She oversaw three finals appearances including one grand final in her time at Belmore.

The Canterbury Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle.

The Canterbury Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"Raelene has made a significant contribution over the last four years," Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib said in a statement on Thursday.

"She has strengthened all areas of the club and will leave us in a strong position for the new chief executive to take over."

"We are appreciative of her professionalism in signalling this early enough for us to find a replacement in time for next season."

Castle's resignation comes two weeks after reports of tension with Dib following an email Castle sent to rival clubs complaining about a breach in protocol by the players' union.

The Rugby League Players' Association was alleged to have met with a select group of club chairmen that was set up by Dib, over the ongoing collective bargaining agreement talks.

It is believed Castle forwarded the complaint, which was written by NRL salary cap negotiator Dean Kino to the RLPA, to club bosses.

Kieran Foran.

The arrival of Kieran Foran at the Bulldogs could cause a few financial headaches for the club. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Her decision also comes after the club this year controversially extended the contract of coach Des Hasler, and lured big names Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran for 2018.

It is widely tipped the Bulldogs, who were last week fined $70 thousand for salary cap breaches in 2016, would have to offload some players to fit the star pair into their books next year.

Castle, who this time last year negotiated a new deal to stay on as Bulldogs boss until the end of 2018, said she loved her time at the Bulldogs and will oversee the handover.

"The time is now right to look for my next challenge. I wish the club and the team every success for the future," she said.

"I am pleased that together with the board we could give the club leadership continuity and a professional transition to new leadership."