Why the NRL will keep ignoring Phil Gould and Paul Gallen's calls

·Contributor
·3-min read
Neither Paul Gallen nor Phil Gould seem to be fans of the post-match press conferences in the NRL. Pic: Getty
Neither Paul Gallen nor Phil Gould seem to be fans of the post-match press conferences in the NRL. Pic: Getty

Phil Gould reckons they're a trap to ambush coaches while Paul Gallen wants them removed from rugby league altogether.

We're talking post-match press conferences like the one Ricky Stuart walked into last week before leaning on the detonator.

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A group of NRL coaches was recently asked if they could remove one thing from the game, what would it be.

Almost to a man they answered: "Dealing with the media".

Gould knows why. He thinks the scales are tipped too far in the journalists' favour.

He told the Six Tackles with Gus podcast: "The league have made it important from a media standpoint we have these press conferences and it's probably fitting to talk to the fans and the corporates and the people that put their money into the game, but it’s not treated like that by the media.

"It’s more a chance to try and extract something. I think the coaches would be far more forthcoming with information and comment if they didn’t feel like they were there to be trapped."

Trapped?

Stuart, who has conducted thousands of press conferences, was hardly trapped.

He was asked a pretty standard question about a couple of incidents in a game and decided to carry out a character assassination on Jaeman Salmon.

Ricky Stuart's press conference comments left NRL fans stunned. Pic: NRL
Ricky Stuart's press conference comments left NRL fans stunned. Pic: NRL

The previous six minutes of the conference had been benign, bordering on routine, bordering on boring.

A week earlier Adam O'Brien was asked how he intended improving his side's defence and resilience after yet another loss.

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Instead of giving a standard response, the Knights boss rolled out his CV, talking himself up as having been involved in four grand final sides as an assistant coach.

No trap, just a coach digging his own hole.

O'Brien later apologised for referencing his record.

A few weeks before that, Wests Tigers interim coach Brett Kimmorley accused Penrith of lacking respect for his side by resting seven players.

The question had been about the Tigers throwing away a winnable game.

Kimmorley threw the disrespect line in completely unprompted.

No trap there.

Gallen believes coaches need to be saved from themselves and should not be asked to front the cameras so soon after fulltime.

"I don’t know why coaches are forced to do a media conference straight after a game," he wrote.

"It is just stupid. They should not have to do it."

The NRL isn't listening.

There is no plan to change the policy despite the drama Stuart's comments produced.

Fans want to hear from their coach immediately after a win or loss, as evidenced by the huge viewing numbers the press conferences attract.

Coaches just have to get smarter…and shut their traps if they feel trapped.

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