SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16: Canterbury Bulldogs NRL General Manager of Football Phil Gould speaks to the media at Belmore Sports Ground on May 16, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. Gould spoke to the media as he left the ground after the announcement this morning that Trent Barrett had quit the role of Bulldogs head coach. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Canterbury Bulldogs General Manager Phil Gould has spoken earnestly in the wake of Trent Barrett's departure from the kennel, with 'Gus' claiming he had offered warnings to the former Steeler, Dragon and Shark about a pair of poisoned chalices.

While Barrett's official tenure at Belmore came to an early end on Monday morning following the Bulldogs' Magic Round loss to the Knights last Friday, the 44-year-old's first-grade coaching career kicked off in 2016 when he took the reins at Brookvale.

Although the Temora-born playmaker's pedigree as a footballer held him in comfortable stead to start a career in the coaches' box, Gould stated on Channel Nine's 100% Footy that he believed Barrett's posts at Manly and Canterbury were fraught with danger.

"He took on a job at Manly that I recommended he shouldn't take. It was a very difficult job at the time and I said, 'You're not a Manly boy. They won't protect you'," Gould said.

"And the same thing at the Bulldogs. When he went to the Bulldogs I said, 'You're not a Bulldog boy, mate'. I said, 'You're a Dragon'. I said, 'If things go bad there's going to be no one there to protect you'. And that's pretty much how it's played out."

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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett watches on during the round nine NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Canterbury Bulldogs at GIO Stadium, on May 06, 2022, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Irrespective of the fact that both of Gould's promenitions eventually came to fruition, the notion that the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs were incapable of eating their own remains a falsehood given club legends Geoff Toovey and Dean Pay were respectively dumped to open the door for Barrett on both occasions.

Having manufactured a winning percentage of less than 27 across the course of his dual roles on both sides of the Harbour Bridge, results - along with some of the nastier public sentiment - suggest that Barrett was left paddling furiously at Brookvale and Belmore.

Still, despite parting company ahead of Round 11 - just 35 games into Barrett's tenure with the Bulldogs - Gould was willing to back the former Kangaroo's coaching credentials.

"I really rate him. I've always rated him: as a communicator, as a hard worker," Gould said.

"That boy – he threw his heart and soul into it. He worked hard every day on what he was trying to do, and he worked hard at his craft. He's got great communication skills; we identified that very early on."

Although willing to front the cameras both on Monday afternoon and Monday night, Gould's truthtelling abilities have been called into question by former Bulldog, and Barrett's former Blues teammate, Braith Anasta.

Speaking via his own post on NRL 360, the ex-Pup with 110 first-grade games in blue and white stated emphatically that Gould was reminiscent of "Pinnochio" is his claims that it had been Barrett's choice to walk, rather than be sacked, by the Bulldogs.

Anasta's claims come off the back of Gould's stance that “Trent Barrett will be the coach of the Bulldogs long after I’m gone" just weeks before his eventual exit.

Gould then went on to claim that he wasn't phased by internal movement behind Belmore's closed doors, stating: “it doesn’t affect me and I laugh in their face with it”.

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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)

It was at this point that Anasta was willing to put his foot down.

“Well, you’re not laughing now Phil after saying that only a couple of weeks ago,” Anasta told Fox League viewers.

“That’s Pinocchio there. Saying that his job is safe and that he’s going to be there long after Gus. He’s telling lies because Barrett’s gone and he’s still there.”

While the pedanticism surrounding where the truth lies is sure to rage on across the coming weeks, the search for Barrett's full-time replacement has officially commenced.

Though the likes of Paul Green, Shane Flanagan and Penrith assistant, Cameron Ciraldo have been raised as realistic possibilities to pull on a blue and white polo, the now furiously spinning merry-go-round will come to a momentary pause on Friday night when Canterbury takes on Wests at Leichhardt Oval.