Phil Gould
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Former Penrith Panthers General Manager of Football Phil Gould in the mounting yard to watch his horse Jailbreak compete in race 1 during Sydney Racing at Rosehill Gardens on May 18, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

The tenuous link between the Canterbury Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona has been shut down with force by Canterbury supremo Phil Gould, who also used the opportunity to express his frustration with the current state of the transfer market.

The Daily Telegraph suggested earlier this week that the Belmore club were interested in the towering off-contract prop. Those rumours had come as a surprise to the Storm, who had just farewelled the Bromwich brothers and Felise Kaufusi.

Gould has since confirmed that the Bulldogs are just as surprised by the reports, claiming the club has never once considered a bid for the off-contract big man.

“It's never been discussed,” Gould said on Twitter, directly addressing the rumours.

“He's a terrific player, but Nelson has never once been mentioned at the Bulldogs.

“I don't know who makes this stuff up, but they keep doing it. They are never held to any account.”

The Bulldogs have been active in the market in recent times, welcoming Reed Mahoney and Viliame Kikau among others during another busy off-season.

But while the club has maintained an interest in the likes of Mitchell Moses and Stephen Crichton, they've also been associated at some point during the off-season with nearly every noteworthy NRL player coming off contract.

Whether mentioned because of a tenuous third-party link or simply to leverage the market worth of respective players, Gould is growing frustrated with the increasingly common methods.

“It doesn't concern me, but it concerns rival clubs,” Gould said when asked why he was concerned about the frequently employed strategy.

“It's totally irresponsible. Mind you, the whole recruitment system is wrong. It's an embarrassment to our code – but no one has the courage to fix it.”

Always happy to discuss public matters with fans, Gould also gave an update on star half Matt Burton's recovery from off-season ankle surgery.

“Matt has had his surgery. He was at Belmore the very next day, walking around with the boys. It will be a quick recovery.”

It's good news for the club, who are building an imposing roster ahead of the new season despite the difficulties created by ongoing CBA negotiations.

The Bulldogs kick off their 2023 campaign against Manly on Saturday, March 4.