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Phil Gould has doubled down on his justification for dumping Penrith coach Anthony Griffin in a stern reply to the sacked mentor’s own criticism of the Penrith supremo.
Griffin was given his marching orders on Monday, with Gould indicating he had lost the players’ faith, was too controlling and was not the man to deliver a premiership to the club.
The coach responded on Fox Sports’ NRL 360 on Wednesday, publicly questioning Gould’s patience and own results during his time at the club.
And, in a swipe that infuriated Gould, Griffin indicated Gould was a control freak who craved being at the helm when Penrith next won the competition.
In response, Gould teed off on the Nine Network’s Footy Show on Thursday night claiming Penrith “wouldn’t have won a premiership the way he was coaching”, despite them sitting fifth one month out from the finals.
“He’s got us nowhere near a premiership at the moment,” Gould said.
“My first thoughts … were that he shouldn’t have done it (the interview). I don’t think he’s done himself any favours.
“He’s hurt a lot of people in that interview and embarrassed himself in front of people that know the truth.”
Gould said he had twice asked the club to hold off firing Griffin this season following damning internal reviews.
He claimed interim coach Cameron Ciraldo had twice asked to resign, only for Gould to talk him out of it.
Penrith are hopeful of luring Ivan Cleary back to the club that sacked him three years ago, although Cleary still has two seasons to run on his Wests Tigers coaching contract.
Amid accusations of unethical behaviour from Tigers chair Marina Go, Gould said Penrith had never suggested Cleary break his contract and return for the 2019 season.