Phil Gould was appointed as football manager at the Canterbury Bulldogs in July.
This was a fairy tale return for Gould since his playing for the Dogs in the mid-80s. The Bulldogs sit dead-last on the ladder at the close of the season, which makes the move a difficult challenge for Gus to help fix.
Gould was employed at the New Zealand Warriors in 2020 to improve their junior football pathways.
Gus decided to finish his employment at the Warriors due to COVID-19 complicating his ability to work in New Zealand. It is believed that Gould did in fact make important inroads into improving rugby league development across the ditch, but couldn't complete the job due the sizeable logistical issues.
The Bulldogs have been struggling greatly this season with only a couple of wins across the entire season. This has put a fair amount of pressure on coach Trent Barrett. Particularly, the highly publicised mid-game benching of star half-back Kyle Flanagan which raised questions about the lack of unity between Barrett and his playing group.
The Dogs have been very active in the NRL player market making a number of big name signings for the 2022 season. They have signed the 'Fox' Josh Addo-Carr to improve their scoring issues, as Addo-Carr is top five in the league for tries this year.
Also, the Dogs were able to convince in-demand Penrith star Matt Burton to join them despite significant interest from a number of teams.
Gus is the perfect person to turn the Bulldogs around and will bolster their quest towards entering the finals once again.
His work to build the Penrith Panthers into a regular premiership contender after years of poor results, is admirable. He turned the Panthers recruiting program on its head and made sure no Penrith juniors would fall through the cracks. His work in development has produced the core of Nathan Cleary, Jerome Luai and Brain To'o that were all local Penrith juniors and now stars for the Panthers each week.
This is a testament to Gould's ability to facilitate very successful programs, which has had great positive impact on a clubs rise from the depths of the ladder.
The signing of Gus Gould to oversee the football operations at the Canterbury Bulldogs is a masterstroke from the Bulldog higher-ups.
This move, along with the players they have already signed, should lead the Bulldogs on an upward trend towards competition respectability once more.
Can the Dogs win a Premiership in the near future, since their last grand final victory was in 2004?