Phil Gould rips into NRL over 'ridiculous' call on Reece Walsh and Taylan May clash

The Panthers centre escaped a charge, but the NRL's head of football reckons that was wrong.

Canterbury supremo Phil Gould's uneasy relationship with the NRL has soured further after he unloaded on the game's bosses over the Taylan May controversy. Gould was happy with the match review committee's move not to charge Penrith's May for the head clash that left Brisbane star Reece Walsh with a facial fracture and sidelined for up to six weeks.

But the outspoken Dogs boss was stunned to hear NRL head of football Graham Annesley voice his displeasure at the MRC's decision. After pointing out the MRC is an independent body at arm's length to the NRL, Annesley stated: "The match review committee reached their conclusion of no further action on the basis that they thought it was an accidental head clash and as such didn’t reach the threshold for a careless or reckless-type action.

Phil Gould, pictured here alongside Taylan May and Reece Walsh.
Phil Gould has blasted the NRL's suggestion that Taylan May should have been charged for his collision with Reece Walsh. Image: AAP/Getty

“The view of the administration is that we think that it does reach that threshold of careless action at least. In our view, there’s an obligation on all defenders to ensure that they play the game with due regard for the safety of other players. This particular type of action of coming up and in at speed will often go wrong... and on that basis we believe it should have resulted in a charge."

Phil Gould lashes Graham Annesley over 'ridiculous' comments

Gould, speaking on 100% Footy, was incredulous. "Did the league come out and say that? Who said it? On behalf of who?" he asked. "Who’s the administration and why are they questioning (the decision)?

"That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard in my life. I just don’t know where this game is heading. I don’t know what they expect. I think the people who make these decisions have never ever been within a bull's roar of a moment like that in a competitive sport.

"They’ve never been anywhere near that sort of position. (Accidents are) going to happen. People break jaws, break cheekbones, break noses, get cuts, get stitches, get concussions. It just happens because that's the sport we play."

Reece Walsh, pictured here after the collision with Taylan May.
Reece Walsh suffered a facial fracture in the collision with Taylan May. (Getty Images)


Pressed on whether the NRL had a duty of care to players given the heavy focus on concussion-related brain injuries and the threat of litigation down the track, Gould was unmoved. He said: "If you want duty of care, don’t play. Get a round ball and we'll all play soccer.

"Duty of care is the most over-used and least understood term I've heard in rugby league over the last five or six years. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

"This is professional sport. Don’t do as we do, kids. Watch it, enjoy it but don’t do as we do. Don’t do it until you get to the professional game. This is competitive football (played by) big men going hard. The stakes are high. Accidents are going to happen. Players accept that."