'It's flattering': Phil Gould responds to 'insane' CEO calls

Phil Gould has been touted as a potential NRL CEO. Pic: Getty

Phil Gould is regarded as one of the most astute brains in Australian rugby league, so much so that he's been touted as a future CEO.

This week, NRL legend Matty Johns and rugby league journalist James Hooper endorsed Gould as a possible replacement for Todd Greenberg, the NRL's under-fire chief executive.

‘NOT WHAT WE DO’: Cameron Smith smacks down 'prison-like' plan

BIG TWIST: Bulldogs players appeal sacking after schoolgirl scandal

Gould's name first came up as a possible candidate for the NRL role as far back as last year when NSW coach Brad Fittler threw his former Blues mentor into the mix.

"He's obviously a very intelligent bloke. I would definitely think he'd have the nous to run the game," Fittler told Nine Network.

Greenberg - off contract in October - has been criticised after it emerged NRL headquarters runs at a yearly cost of $182 million.

He also came under fire for not immediately taking the same 74 per cent pay cut that the NRL players were forced to cop during the shutdown.

There has been mounting speculation that Greenberg's position is under serious threat, although ARL Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys has given the CEO his public backing.

Greenberg last week said he did not feel like a "dead man walking" as he worked with V'landys on trying to get the competition back up and running as soon as possible.

However, the NRL boss is under intense pressure over his financial management during the fallout from the coronavirus shutdown.

Former Kangaroo Johns and Daily Telegraph writer Hooper think that if Greenberg does go, Gould would make a suitable replacement.

"He sometimes says and does things that irritate people and get on people's nerves and that doesn't worry Gus at all," Johns said on Fox League Live.

"That is the sort of bloke you want in charge that is going to be able to back Peter V'landys up and make unpopular decisions sometimes for the betterment of the game."

Hooper agreed saying: “He (Gould) has been there and done it at all levels of the game and Gus is certainly a highly intelligent bloke with skin in the game.

“It would be left-field, and he would have to want to do it.”

The Australian’s Brent Read described calls for Gould or Wayne Bennett to step into the NRL CEO role as bordering “on the insane", arguing that it takes a highly qualified business mind to run a multi-million dollar organisation.

Gould has now broken his silence, insisting he is "flattered" but a little surprised about being put forward as a potential candidate.

“I don't know where that comes from, to be honest with you," Gould told Wide World of Sports.

"I guess in some ways it’s flattering, but I don't know where that talk comes from, I really don’t.

“I don't think it will ever be a conversation, to be honest. That’s just not what I am. I'm not a CEO, simple as that.

“That’s a specialised position in any organisation, in any football club and I’ve never held that position, I’ve never desired to hold that position, it’s not who I am.”

NRL chiefs target May for restart of season

The NRL could resume its competition as early as May 21 and the restart will receive the backing of the NSW government.

With the ARL Commission to decide on Thursday when and how it will resume its competition, the state government is supporting a restart.

According to NSW Deputy Premier John Barilo, the NRL is the tonic Australia needs to endure the deadly coronavirus.

Barilo described watching rugby league as being fundamentally Australian, and that it is important some sort of normality is achieved during the crisis.

“You measure risk versus the economic uplift, the social uplift, the mental wellbeing uplift,” Barilo said on Fox League Live.

“And there's no doubt that the NRL is the tonic we need to get through this virus.”

What will the restarted season look like?

An innovative committee will present a number of proposals to the Commission, including temporarily relocating non-Sydney teams to the harbour city.

How long the likes of Brisbane, North Queensland, Gold Coast, Melbourne and the Warriors stay in Sydney depends on interstate travel restrictions.

It is understood some teams could be housed in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct, while the Panthers Rugby League Academy is another option.

Barilo said the league would have the government's backing to restart its season, which was suspended after round two, to resume as early as May 21.

He hailed ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys for the way he kept the racing industry going during the pandemic.

“I'm a big fan of Peter V'landys and what he's done with racing. Racing continues as we speak. They've put in all the protocols and measures,” Barilo said.

“And we've got to be flexible enough to work with the NRL.

“We need this more than ever before. Of course, the government will have to put some level of support into it. There's no question about that.

“We'll do that when there is an ask and plan pitched to government."

Barilo's comments come after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hinted at restrictions being loosened in a couple of weeks.

with agencies