Penrith Panthers general manager Phil Gould speaks to the media during a press conference in Sydney, Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Gould said Penrith have received a dozen job applications, including some from rival NRL head coaches, since their decision to sack Anthony Griffin. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
Penrith Panthers general manager Phil Gould speaks to the media during a press conference in Sydney, Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Gould said Penrith have received a dozen job applications, including some from rival NRL head coaches, since their decision to sack Anthony Griffin. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

The breathtaking hubris of Phil Gould

WHO does Phil Gould think he is - God?

Of course not. He thinks he's far more omnipotent than that. He thinks he's Phil Gould.

The way Gould has carried on over the past week is breathtaking.

He has looked down at the game that has provided him with a very good living for over 40 years and treated it with contempt.

He has said 'rules don't apply to me and there is nothing anyone can do about it.'

And so far, he has been right.

As Gould has run roughshod over the NRL, disrupting its fragile ecosystem and massaging facts to suit his agenda, no-one in a position of authority has stepped in to pull him into line.

No-one has said, "enough Gus. You don't run this game, we do."

And that has just strengthened his position and reinforced his belief that he is above the game.

And why wouldn't he think that?

In the past week he has sacked a highly successful and well respected coach in order to poach another coach who is contracted to a rival club.

He has also claimed that other coaches presently contracted to NRL clubs have contacted him in the hope that he will employ them, thus putting a question mark over the loyalty of every coach in the competition.

He has attempted to move people around like chess pieces in order to end up with the result that best suits him.

 

And most of all he has snubbed his nose at the people running the game.

Nothing new about that. When NRL chairman Peter Beattie was in the process of taking up his new position, Gould hijacked him on television and tricked him into making a fool of himself by not knowing "which club represents Sutherland".

Right from the get-go Gould had put Beattie in his place; let him know who was the cleverer, the more astute, the more powerful.

And now, with every day that Peter Beattie and the NRL don't step in and show some leadership over Gould's latest manoeuvring, Gould's power increases.

I get the impression they are playing a "give him enough rope and he'll hang himself" game, but so far it's not working.

On Friday I spoke to Peter Beattie and asked why he wasn't fighting back. He told me that he would be attending the regular meeting of the club CEO's on Tuesday and, if the clubs felt it was warranted, the NRL would take action.

It’s time Gould was held accountable for his decisions. AAP Image/Joel Carrett.
It’s time Gould was held accountable for his decisions. AAP Image/Joel Carrett.

"The key to the NRL's future is for everyone in the game to remember that the behaviour of players, coaches, administrators and the NRL directly impacts on our fan base - and without fans we don't have a game," he said.

"There are rules in place to prevent young players being approached and lured by other clubs until the final year of their contract.

"We didn't think it would be necessary to put the same rules in place for coaches and clubs but the events of the last week have been damaging and if we have to introduce similar rules for coaches we will have that discussion with the clubs and act."

Enough with the discussions Peter. Just do something.

People want someone in charge who has the best interests of the entire game at heart, not just the interests of one club, or one person.

And that someone is not Phil Gould.



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