Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Photo by Gregg Porteous
Phil “Gus” Gould has always been one of Rugby League’s more outspoken pundits, with over 45 years of experience in our game as a player, coach and general manager, the 63-year-old has always been willing to give his unfiltered thoughts on the happenings of the sport he has been so heavily involved in for the entirety of his adult life.
On last night’s episode of 100% Footy on Channel Nine, Gould expressed his disdain for the NRL’s power brokers in a rant sparked by a discussion on Penrith’s interchange that saw Mitchell Kenny come off for Tevita Pangai Jnr late in their Elimination Final against the Parramatta Eels.
“If you keep making stupid, pedantic rulings and be influenced by social media in trying to shape your game, then you’re going to end up with this,” Gould said.
“And the top coaches and the top players and the referees will make a mockery of you the closer you get to the big games. And there were a number of instances on the weekend where players made a mockery of the rules. And there are a number of times where the rules have come back against us.
“It’s reported that the Panthers made 15 interchanges on the weekend. Fifteen interchanges! When you take into (consideration) HIA’s, every time we put a player on report now … So every time you go back three tackles and the bunker wants to put someone on report for some innocuous incident, that gives a free interchange to the other team.”
Gould would then go on to complain about a situation involving Parramatta Eels winger Blake Ferguson, and address the penalty given to the Panthers that ultimately won them the game.
“We had Blake Ferguson milking a crusher tackle here. Why? Because they’ve allowed them to milk it all year,” stated Gould.
“The penalty goal that ended up deciding the game – you tell me with a minute to go in a grand final, 12-all in front of the posts, (that) the referee’s going to penalise those incidents. Not in a blue moon! They had chances to penalise the Panthers in front of the posts the other night late in the game but didn’t do it because it was match-defining. So what they take during the game and during the course of the year comes back to bite them later in the year. If you can’t penalise someone in front of the posts with a minute to go in the grand final at 12-all, then it’s not a penalty at any time.
“I’m going blue in the face.”
The Panthers were today fined $25,000 and trainer Peter Green has been suspended for the rest of the season for asking the referee to stop play at an inappropriate moment in the game.
In terms of Gould’s take on the Blake Ferguson incident, the former New South Wales State of Origin representative has not received any repercussions.