Gus Gould must finally answer Blues’ SOS

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    Andrew Johns was peppered with questions from Paul Vautin during the State of Origin post-match review about coaching New South Wales, but Vautin should have directed the questioning at Phil Gould.

    Johns, a more than creditable coaching option for the Blues, refused to answer one way or another about whether he would take on the representative role.

    Johns would no doubt offer an irresistible passion and thirst to overthrow the historic Maroons side.

    While his lack of head coaching experience is a valid thought line, his expertise and status in the game would far outweigh any need for such credentials.

    But the better option is to consider hauling NSW’s most experienced and successful Origin coach out of his Penrith seclude.

    Gould has transformed the Panthers into a formidable force in the National Rugby League during his time as general manager, both on and off the field.

    He pushed club favourites out the door, recruited numerous players, signed many of the western Sydney league nursery’s talents to long-term deals, constructed one of the best sport headquarters in Australia, and completely turned around of one the league’s most viable clubs.

    Busy working on his five-year plan at Panther, along with his extensive media commitments, means ‘Gus’ has not been involved in coaching since his last stint with NSW ended, in 2004.

    Now, as Laurie Daley would attest, coaching a State of Origin side is not a year-round commitment. Yes, you have to watch players throughout the NRL season to keep track of the moments and form, but it hardly consumes your life.

    As one of the best minds in rugby league, Gould could probably pick his side off the top of his head.

    The biggest effect Gould would have on the players of today is the size of his aura and presence.

    Players would cease to talk when he walked in a room. The entire squad would respond to his status and ability as a coach. No one would put in half-arse efforts. It would be no nonsense, 100 per cent commitment from Gould that would bring out the best in each and every individual.

    Before NSW broke the drought in 2014, Gould sat on the Channel Nine panel and was asked similar questions to Johns. He refused to step in and save the Blues.

    If Johns is feeling “sick” after watching the Blues lose another series, I would love to know Gus’ true opinion.

    Blatchy’s Blues are bleeding. The state is embarrassed. Players’ confidence has been shot.

    Eleven Queensland series wins from the last 12 attempts. One NSW series in over the last 12 years.

    It’s time to answer the call, Gus.

    Max is on Twitter: @MaxMckinney

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