PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 30: Phil Gould talks with Peter Wallace during the round 16 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Manly Sea Eagles at Panthers Stadium on June 30, 2018 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

During his eight-year tenure at the Penrith Panthers, Phil ‘Gus’ Gould has proven himself to be the most dishonest man in the history of this great game we call rugby league. Gould has found himself in the headlines once again after it was announced overnight that Anthony Griffin had been sacked as head coach of the Penrith outfit with just four matches to be played before finals football arrives.

The most peculiar part about this situation however is the fact that Griffin currently has the Panthers sitting fifth on the ladder with 13 wins from 20 starts this season. With a top four berth on the cards and with a 60 percent win rate since joining the club in 2016, just why oh why was Griffin ‘hooked’ so close to finals time?

It was just last month when Phil Gould told audiences on Channel Nine’s flagship rugby league program – 100 percent footy – that coach Anthony Griffin’s job was safe until at least the end of the 2020 NRL season. Griffin had originally put pen to paper on a three-year extension last October.

Gould slammed the media reports at the time that claimed Griffin was subjected to an internal review during Origin II weekend.

“It’s totally incorrect, it’s another example of a journalist taking a titbit of information and trying to connect the dots to gain his own information. It’s totally wrong and totally misleading. Griffin will remain with the club until 2020.”

With these comments, Gould doesn’t just prove himself to be a liar, but he disrespects the game, the fans, the Penrith club and obviously the journalists who run these stories – which are shot down by Gould at the time of print – but are later proven to be factual, leaving Gould with proverbial mud on his face.

It’s not the first time in the past 12 months Gould has lied to the media, Penrith members and fans of the sport. Just last September, Gould held a press conference as he promised Matt Moylan would be remaining at Penrith amidst rumours he was unhappy and wanting to leave. Come November, Moylan had officially put pen to paper with the Cronulla Sharks.

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In 2016, Corey Payne sensationally quit his role as Chief Executive of the Penrith club amidst a reported feud with Gould. Gould would later debunk these claims by stating “Payne resigned to study overseas. The two weeks (he spent) in China wet his appetite, I always wondered if this job was big enough for him.”

Ultimately these claims were proven untrue as Payne was hired by Woolworths Group as Store Operations Executive shortly after his resignation.

Gould has even lied about his own standing in the game. On January 17, 2015, Gould revealed he was planning to step down from his current role.

“My aim is to get to a point where my job becomes redundant and the club moves on, and we’re getting close to that”.

Two months later, he re-signed with the club on a long-term deal.

In 2013, Gould denied a falling out with star centre Michael Jennings had exploded prior to the representative back being granted a release to join the Sydney Roosters on a big money contract. Jennings would go on to win a premiership with Easts that very season.

It was also just a year prior that Gould lost club legend Luke Lewis under similar circumstances with the veteran utility forward going on to win a premiership with Cronulla in 2016.

Upon his arrival in Penrith, Gould promised Petero Civoniceva, perhaps at the time the greatest forward of the modern era, that he’d have a job for life at the club. Just three short months later, he was playing out the remainder of his career at the Brisbane Broncos and hasn’t stepped foot back at the foot of the mountains since.

And as he continues to move on key pieces, Penrith Panthers supporters continue to grow more and more restless. In an unstable working environment, the 60-year-old’s five-year plan (which was put into place eight years ago) has unravelled. Since Gould has arrived at the club, a total number of 95 roster changes has occurred – the most in the league.

At some point, surely, you’ve got to stop building and start consolidating?

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Not including these 95 players is the fact that Gould has also gone through five coaches in his time at the club (equal first with the New Zealand Warriors over this period). Will coach number six even be game enough to step foot into a club run by such an obsessive man such as Gould?

Of these 95 roster changes aforementioned, over 20 players whom have left the club over this period have done so having been released early from their contracts including: Luke Lewis, Petero Civoniceva, Elijah Taylor, James Segeyaro, Matt Moylan, James Roberts, Te Maire Martin, Jamie Soward, Peta Hiku, Jamal Idris, Michael Jennings, Lachlan Coote, Bryce Cartwright, Leilani Latu, Mitch Rein and Michael Gordon.

Of these players; Coote, Martin, Roberts and Lewis have gone on to play in or win a grand final. Not to mention two coaches have also been released under contract early by Gould with Ivan Cleary parting ways with the club in October 2015 just a month before the club was set to return to pre-season training and just a year prior to being crowned Dally M coach of the year.

And now it’s Anthony Griffin’s turn to be in the cross hairs of Gould, being sacked with two years left to run on his contract and just one win outside the top four.

Phil Gould is a compulsive liar. I’d absolutely loathe having him ‘run’ my club. The game doesn’t deserve it, the fans don’t deserve it, the media don’t deserve it and most importantly we just don’t need Gould’s rubbish in our game. I really feel for Penrith members and supporters having their own Donald Trump like character taking their club hostage.

This is a tweet from Gould just days before Griffin’s release. Will another one of his lies emerge?

11 COMMENTS

  1. Fantastic article and only a imbecile would dispute these FACTS. Gus is toxic and the board should grow a pair and sack him. I find it laughable that Ivan Cleary has been linked backed to Penrith down the track. If Cleary went back whilst Gold was still there it would be a disgrace on Cleary’s part fter the way Gould shafted him in the first place.

    Gould is a blight on the game and listening to his inane drivel on Channel 9 is bad enough. He’s a legend in his own lunch time that honestly thinks his opinion is the word of god.

  2. Well said daffy agree with 110%.
    If you get Foxtel you wont have to listen to Gould and Co.
    Best thing I ever did

    • I’m getting Foxtel hooked up tomorrow. I can’t wait to watch the footy without listening to Gould & John’s one sided commentary. You can tell in the first 5 minutes of every game who they want to win and they commentate accordingly. Fittler is almost as bad.

  3. Disagree.
    Panthers wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for Gould.
    They wouldn’t have a strong roster if they kept the oveepaid ‘stars’.
    His kept the nursery churning out players which is his job. Blind Freddy could see they were never going to win with Griffen as coach.

  4. Who gives a rats about respecting media or being honest with them?? Journalists are the biggest parasitic cancers on the game

    • Agree
      Since when we’re sports journalist honest and show integrity?
      Been making up lies in league since 1908 to sell papers, now to generate clicks

  5. What ever truth there is in this article. Just listing off players that have been there is rediculous . Players such as Segeyaro , Roberts were getting themselves into trouble when at Penrith. Do you think the club should keep players no matter how they behave?
    As much as I like Lewis , he & a small group of players thought it was their job to run the club & tell the coaches who they could & couldn’t drop from first grade. That’s when Gould arrived. Do you think players should be telling the coaches , board how to run a club? At the same time the team was near the bottom of the ladder.
    Michael Jennings was having a fun old time in the centres at Penrith. Rarely put in any effort & was over paid.
    Michael Gordon & Coote both wanted to be fullback at Penrith. Penrith made the decision to have Coote at Fullback . So Gordon left. Penrith made the decision only to have Coote knife them in the back & leave as well.
    Point is, don’t just list a lot of players that have played at any club & left . Without any explanation as to why they left or were kicked out of the club.
    People in charge of teams may well bend the truth. Your writers also bend the truth , or leave out details . If it makes your argument look more convincing .

  6. excuse me who won them the grandfinal 1991 as coach who was at the club when mr lang won grandfinal with gould was behind the scenes

  7. gould had the panthers 1st an 2nd during the 1991 season stupid will always blame coach different ideas which means your not wanted in the plans you loose up n comming juniors so they depart because not getting game time why do you think the jennings bros left

  8. The Jennings brothers left as big brother Michael told them to. George is only an alright player. Not that good a first grader . Robert would have gotten a chance in first grade no doubt.
    Burns left as probably a higher rated player than Robert Jennings. Think he would also have gotten a chance at Penrith. It’s not worked out so well for him. He’s enjoyed lots of games for the Bears ISP team.

  9. Bravo! Bravo J Hackett! Let’s not forget the good things that Gus has done, something you wouldn’t read in a News Limited newspaper.

    The Panthers Academy, an outstanding piece on infrastructure right next to a Leagues Club which was on life support before Gus… Gus got this club back on track off field.

    On field, without Gus do you think we would have secured some signings like Brent Kite, Tyrone Peachey, James Segeyaro, Jamie Soward, Elijah Taylor, Dean Whare, bringing home Peter Wallace, Trent Merrin and James Maloney. The list can go on. Could someone with less contacts in the game brought quality players to the club pre-Gould? NO!

    And oh! Let’s not forget the Matt Elliott era where Elliott REFUSED to play any juniors. How successful was the side then… well I think not!

    Waqa, Reagan, Dylan, Isaah, Moses would certainly NOT have been in our current NRL side if Elliott was still in charge.

    Some of these players didn’t leave because of Gus, they left because of Hook treating them like schoolchildren.

    Maybe read some of the Panther Facebook forums and see what they say about Hook.

    And he wouldn’t be the only coach to lose the dressing room – can you imagine there isn’t any upheaval in Townsville? Do you think the senior players are undermining Paul Green?

    A balanced story on Gus would have been just a little too uninteresting!

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