Phil Gould's double standards called out in fiery TV spray

Pictured right is NRL reporter Paul Kent and league icon Phil Gould on the left.
Paul Kent has slammed Phil Gould for playing down the severity of the Karl Lawton lifting tackle. Pic: Getty/Fox Sports

NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent has accused Phil Gould of hypocrisy after the league icon criticised the decision to send Manly's Karl Lawton off in Friday night's 40-22 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Lawton will spend one month on the sidelines after being hit with the highest-possible grade for a dangerous throw under the game's judicial system.

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The Manly forward pleaded guilty and accepted a four-match ban after being charged with a grade-three offence for his send off just nine minutes into Manly's 40-22 loss against the Rabbitohs.

Lawton lifted Souths forward Cameron Murray before driving him into the ground in sickening scenes, with the Rabbitohs player lucky to walk away uninjured.

Gould was among the most outspoken critics of the decision to send off the Manly player, arguing that the primetime spectacle was ruined in an incident Murray wasn't injured in.

“It’s just momentum. No-one’s hurt, everyone’s OK. Settle down,” Gould said after the tackle.

“He doesn’t need a spell.”

After Lawton was sent from the field, Gould then said: “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

“It’s a little bit of a flip but to be sent off for that when there’s absolutely no injury to the other player, I find that extraordinary.

“You want your prime time TV show to now be 12 on 13, if that’s your product I give up.”

Nine co-commentator Fittler agreed with Gould adding: “I thought that could have been an awful lot worse and I really can’t believe Lawton is walking past me on the sideline.”

Taking issue with those comments on Monday's NRL 360 program, Kent brought up an incident from 30 years ago to expose the hypocrisy in Gould and Fittler's opinions.

Kent showed a clip of a young Fittler being spear-tackled while playing for former coach Gould's Panthers, in an incident that he admitted was worse than Lawton's tackle.

He used the footage and the comments from Gould and Fittler afterwards to prove why the outrage around the Lawton tackle was justified.

“There is two very experienced people in the game who have been around the game for a long time talking about a send-off that nearly everybody else thought was a send-off,” Kent said.

“They didn’t like it because there is no injury in the tackle. I shudder to think what injuries could have come out of that.

“But we have also got to remember and let’s take the hysterics out of this. Let’s go back to a tackle some time ago back in the time when real men played it and before the game got soft.

“There is a young Brad Fittler getting up-ended in a tackle as well. I will grant you this is a far more serious tackle than what we saw the other night.

“But Cameron Murray still landed on his head as well. Once you land on your head that brings the neck into play and we have all seen in recent years what can happen.

“Now look at this. This is Phil Gould’s comments after that game when he was coach of Penrith at the time and Brad Fittler’s comments.”

Kent then pulled up an old quote of Gould's that described the lifting tackle on Fittler as the "worst act of foul play imaginable" in the game.

Fittler also said: “Most of the players agree it is time for some of the dangerous tackles to be cleared up".

Paul Kent calls out Phil Gould double standards

The clearly infuriated NRL 360 co-host said Gould and Fittler now trying to play down the severity of Lawton's tackle reeked of double standards.

Karl Lawton was sent off for his lifting tackle on Cameron Murray. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Karl Lawton was sent off for his lifting tackle on Cameron Murray. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“Thirty years ago it was the worst act of foul play imaginable and Friday night it was OK,” Kent said.

“Freddy said, ‘it is time for the dangerous tackles to be cleared up’. Well that’s what the game has been working towards.

“That’s why the other night was a send-off so it continues to be cleared up out of the game.

“To try and sit there and tell us that is not a send-off and secondly to say, well if 12 on 13 is what you want out of the game.

“That is not the game’s responsibility. It is still a sport first. It is not an entertainment product put on for television ratings.

“Admittedly that is a by-product of it all, but the fact is that it is still a sporting contest. There are rules in place and if you up-end anybody, which we all agree, which is why Lawton copped four weeks and accepted the four weeks. That’s the truth of it.

“To try and spin this other stuff I don’t know what planet they are on.”

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