NRL clubs fuming over Phil Gould 'double standards': 'Pressure is mounting':

Canterbury Bulldogs general manager Phil Gould isn't afraid of controversy, but rival NRL clubs have become fed up with his antics.

Phil Gould speaks with reporters.
Phil Gould has reportedly been the subject of a number of complaints to the NRL from rival clubs. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Several NRL clubs have reportedly complained to the league and begun collecting examples as frustration grows around Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould's outspoken media commentary over the past few months. Gould, who recently got stuck into it with Roosters coach Trent Robinson, is reportedly the subject of ire among many clubs who have grown weary of his commentary.

Gould joined the Bulldogs in 2021 as the club's general manager, but has juggled that with ongoing media commitments with Channel 9, including publishing his own podcast. According to the Sydney Morning Herald's Michael Chammas, rivals have been questioning why Gould is yet to be punished under NRL rules prohibiting club employees from publicly criticising 'registered officials'.

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In addition to Gould's high profile spat with Robinson over Joseph Suaalii's impending move to rugby union, the hip-drop tackle controversy has also drawn Gould's ire in recent weeks. Responding to Bulldogs player Jacob Preston being penalised for a hip-drop against the Rabbitohs, Gould unloaded on NRL officials.

In a series of remarkable comments, Gould said players weren't in the NRL to play 'tiddlywinks', and said there was no penalty to be called, let alone the sin-bin Preston copped. He also took aim at both NRL officials and the Rugby League Players' Association after the Bulldogs were scheduled to play five days after a golden point victory over North Queensland on Good Friday.

In his article, Chammas said rival NRL clubs were gearing up to present a swathe of Gould-related evidence to the league should one of their officials be penalised for making comments of their own. The SMH is part of the Channel 9 stable which also employs Gould, with Chammas openly admitting Gould's commentary was a valuable asset to the company.

“Rival clubs have been recording the comments, and screenshotting social media posts with the aim of presenting it to the NRL if they try to fine one of their coaches for comments they deem inappropriate,” Chammas wrote.

“The NRL is aware of the angst among the clubs and pressure is mounting on NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo and ARLC chairman Peter V’landys to intervene.”

NRL rivals complain to league about Phil Gould commentary

A number of clubs have already submitted formal complaints to the NRL, Chammas reported. As for the Bulldogs, their 2023 campaign went from bad to worse over the weekend when breakout winger Jacob Kiraz joined the casualty ward during a 30-4 loss to Parramatta.

In the 12th minute at CommBank Stadium, Kiraz injured the medial cruciate ligament in his right knee when his legs became twisted in a three-man tackle. Kiraz led the Dally M Medal leaderboard after three rounds and would be a significant loss to a Bulldogs side already missing first-choice winger Josh Addo-Carr.

Jacob Kiraz grimaces in pain as he walks off the field accompanied by a Bulldogs trainer.
The Bulldogs' ailing season took another hit when Jacob Kiraz went down with a knee injury. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Viliame Kikau, Luke Thompson, Nu Brown, Chris Patolo and Franklin Pele are among the others sidelined.

"Obviously (Kiraz) not being able to finish the game is not a good sign," Ciraldo said. "Hopefully we get some good news there. We're not getting much luck at the moment in any sort of area."

Kiraz's substitution forced the Bulldogs to reshuffle their backline, which allowed the Eels to capitalise. Parramatta began exploiting the makeshift edges, scoring three tries down the flanks in six minutes to open up a 16-0 lead at halftime.

"It definitely affects the whole cohesion of the team," Ciraldo said. "This club is built on determination and grit and we're showing plenty of it at the moment.

"In the future, whether it's in six months or one year or two years, we're going to look back on this period and it's going to be the making of some of these guys."

With AAP

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