Phil Gould has angrily rejected suggestions he had an agenda to sabotage Anthony Griffin in his pursuit of the head coaching job at St George Illawarra.
Griffin was appointed Dragons head coach earlier this week, but it came in the wake of a media storm in which Gould was accused of campaigning against his hiring.
Gould and Griffin reportedly had a falling out when they were working together for the Penrith Panthers in 2018, which resulted in Griffin’s controversial sacking on the eve of the finals.
Speaking on his podcast, rugby league legend Gould angrily hit back at the suggestion he’d tried ti influence journalists.
“To suggest that I’ve been part of some sort of media agenda to prevent (Griffin) getting another coaching role is a disgrace. It just simply isn’t true,” he said on his podcast.
Furthermore, Gould said he was ‘hurt’ that long-time friend and Griffin’s manager, Wayne Beavis, hadn’t done more to douse the speculation.
“The most hurtful thing through all of this is that Anthony Griffin is managed by Wayne Beavis, who’s been a very dear friend of mine for 40 years,” Gould said.
“Now, it pains me to say, I don’t know if Wayne was a party to this ridiculous and scurrilous campaign, to involve my name as a lever to securing Anthony Griffin a job at the Dragons but by his silence on this issue, I can only assume that he has endorsed this tactic and allowed it to play out the way it has.
EXCLUSIVE: One of leagues strongest friendships is over. Phil Gould slams his friend of 40 years Wayne Beavis over his role in Anthony Griffin getting the job at the Dragons. “I doubt I’ll ever talk to him again.” @9NewsSyd @NRLonNine Full details tonight.— Danny Weidler (@Danny_Weidler) September 9, 2020
“To allow people to make these types of accusations and misrepresent things so blatantly and over a long period of time, without Wayne stepping in to correct the narrative, is extremely disappointing on a personal note.
“I doubt that I’ll ever speak to Wayne Beavis again. And we’re talking about a dear and valued friendship.”
Gould taking Anthony Griffin saga ‘personally’
Gould said he had taken the situation personally, vehemently denying any connection to articles that had questioned Griffin’s suitability for the Dragons job.
“I take this one extremely personally because I have not been a party to any campaign, I have never criticised this man to anyone, any club or any individual or any journalist, at any time,” he said.
“I’m very saddened that those around Anthony Griffin, who have been trying to do the best for him to get him a job and I understand that part of it, but to have me included in this as a tactic to do that has been quite devastating, to be honest.
“Sadly, it could well end a dear and valued friendship over a long period of time.”