It’s been almost eight years since Phil Gould took the reins as the general manager of Penrith’s football department.
The Panthers had broken a five-year finals drought by finishing second on the ladder in 2010, only to bow out of September in straight sets. A terrible start to the 2011 season saw the club become a rapidly sinking ship in need of a captain.
In April of that year, coach Matthew Elliott was told he would not be required beyond the season’s end. The board, desperate for a solution, coaxed Gould to a managerial position with promises of expansive control over almost every department at the club. It wasn’t long before Elliott stood down.
Now, eight years into Gould’s infamous five-year plan, the 60-year-old is departing the club in the first year of a five-year contract. Gould reportedly claimed his role is now “redundant” and that it has “absolutely zero to do” with last year’s drama between himself, Wayne Bennett and Ivan Cleary – he was also quick to deny suggestions Penrith’s lack of a premiership on his watch means his tenure was a failure.
So what legacy does Gould leave at the Penrith Panthers?
Roar rugby league Expert Mary Konstantopoulos joined us on the Game of Codes podcast to discuss the impact of Gould’s tenure at Penrith and where he’s taken the club over the past decade, arguing the Channel Nine commentator has been given “disrespectful” treatment by certain members of the NRL media during the week.
Listen to the dicussion:
Penrith reached the finals in four of the eight seasons since Gould was appointed – all within the last five years – and he is credited with establishing the club’s successful academy and driving a strong surge in junior talent.