The Bulldogs have appointed Phil Gould as general manager of football task with the Warriors’ blessing after the New Zealand club reduced its role due to challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former Panthers manager of football coached Canterbury in the grand final of 1988 and rejoined the club for which he played 40 first class games in a senior role aimed at helping the club to get back on track.
Speaking on Channel Nine on Friday night, Gould said his new job was an “all-encompassing role” and he focused on building junior participation, links to country rugby league, and applying in the rapidly growing female participation.
“I first had an approach from the Bulldogs for Magic Round,” he said.
“At the time, I politely declined because of what the Warriors did and what my role was there.
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“I was talking to Warriors owner Mark Robinson, who’s a great man, he and Cameron George the CEO.
“I felt guilty, because of COVID, the things I wanted to do with the Warriors were just impossible to do.”
Gould said he had a call from his manager on Thursday night and spoke with the Warriors Friday morning to get their blessing before accepting Canterbury’s offer.
“It’s just about building relationships in the club now and I get an understanding of who works there and what they bring to the Bulldogs,” he said.
“The salary cap looks good for the next few years if they have to make changes to the roster.
It has always been one of our counting clubs in Sydney and we want to bring it back to that level
Phil Gould on the Bulldogs
“They have a good strong junior league … whatever is in the local area, we will support it and increase participation.
“We will set development paths in the club.
“I could imagine that within country areas there are opportunities for the Bulldogs to have a role in those areas as well. It is an all-encompassing role. It is a very special club. It always has one of our counting clubs in Sydney. and we want to bring it back to that level. “
Gould’s return to our club as GM of football was phenomenal news for the club, its members, fans and stakeholders, Bulldogs chairman John Khoury said in a statement.
“He was already part of an incredible success that the club had in the eighties and his influence during his time here is something that our fans will always be grateful for,” said Khoury.
“Phil has a great relationship with head coach Trent Barrett and we firmly believe that he can help push us forward to get back to where we need to be: namely again as a candidate for first class.
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“A lot of work went into making sure we wanted the right person for the role of football manager and I’m glad the club will benefit from Phil’s knowledge and track record of success, as we look to the future.”
The Warriors cited difficulties surrounding the ongoing COVID pandemic as the reason for diminishing Phil Gould’s role within the club and gave their blessing to him to take up a role at another club.
Gould was appointed to a consulting role by the Warriors last August, but the pandemic drastically limited his ability to travel to New Zealand and provide input into the club’s pathways.
In a statement, Warriors director Cameron George said if Gould chose a role at another NRL club, he would do so with the support of the Warriors.
The decline in Gould’s role was caused by uncertainty created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions on travel and the NRL bubble, according to George.
“It’s very disappointing, but it has been extremely difficult or impossible for Gus to deliver his presence in New Zealand or in our NRL bubble in Australia,” said George.
“He will continue to provide advice on request to our trainee staff, which will allow him to work closer to home in Sydney without the challenges we face.
“Gus has been great to work with during his time at our club and although he has been limited in his presence, he has helped us tremendously.”