How Gus Gould made broadcast history with 'biased' call

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Gus Gould (pictured left) before commentary and (pictured right) Nathan Cleary running out onto Suncorp for the grand final.
Gus Gould (pictured left) was accused of 'bias' in his commentary as the Panthers won the NRL grand final. (Getty Images)

So many great grand final storylines to choose from.

A father and son combining to win a long dreamt-for premiership, a heartbreaking intercept try, a missed sidelined version from a departing club great, a master coach exiting with no job to go to, Penrith's kids from the hood celebrating into the next morning, a marriage proposal from a grand final hero.

Take your pick.

'CLASSLESS': Uproar over Nathan Cleary's contentious NRL grand final act

'THAT IS STUPID': Gus Gould rages over 'disgraceful' NRL rule

But guess who league fans were raging about on Monday?

Phil 'Gus' Gould, that's who.

A year after he was accused of being biased towards former club Penrith against Melbourne in the 2020 decider – "Penrith are on top here" – Gus again woke up with a bullseye on his chest.

The only difference is, this year he's in the dock for allegedly being bias towards BOTH teams.

Yes, in a piece of broadcasting history, we've apparently found a caller heavily favouring both teams at the same time.

That's some achievement.

One Penrith fan tweeted after the game: "Let's be honest. Gus had a Rabbitohs' t-shirt underneath his shirt."

A Souths supporter responded: "They should never have Phil Gould calling a GF with Penrith playing. Who is the other team Phil? Panthers walk on water and Rabbitohs are the devil."

Listening to the call, I actually felt Gould – to use an old journalism phrase – was cheering for the story.

In that he badly wanted Souths to get back into the contest and draw level so we could have more of an absorbing contest.

That came through with his tirade over Penrith gaining the feed from a kick that cannoned into a Panthers player and went into touch.

It's a stupid rule – as Gus said 654 times – but it's still the rule.

Phil Gould (pictured left) talks with Peter Wallace (pictured right) before a game.
NRL commentator and former coach Phil Gould (pictured) was the sporting director of the Panthers. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Gould spent time at Souths and Penrith so naturally has an affinity for both places.

He was also a key architect of the Panthers' rebuild, helping introduce and nurture many of the players who turned out for the 2021 premiers.

Countering that, Gus is a big Wayne Bennett fan and clearly had no problem with the master coach picking up another premiership

He couldn't really lose on the night.

One fan, using an angry emoji, tweeted Gould: "You really sounded against the Panthers tonight."

Gus replied: "That's funny. Souths fans said I was biased against them. Go figure. Sounds like I did my job."

Maybe it's simply a case of fans hearing what they want to hear.

Or perhaps it's bias of another kind – against Gould every time he opens his mouth.

I can see Nathan Cleary now

The other surprising grand final take-away was criticism over Nathan Cleary's Churchill Medal win.

The Panthers half produced one of the great grand final kicking performance to strangle South Sydney to death.

If he's not there, it’s fair to say the Bunnies probably win the game.

There were other worthy contenders – Cam Murray, Isaah Yeo and Matt Burton to name just three – but Cleary was the most influential player on the park.

And this comes from a bloke who lost money on the Churchill outcome!

Perhaps we need the CC judges to explain their decision in the future to placate confused and angry fans.

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