A petition calling for a review of unfair media bias may be widened, with new parameters to include ownership laws, integrity and ‘Uppin’ the Riff’.
The call comes following Phil Gould’s impassioned display throughout Penrith’s preliminary final triumph over Souths, with claims the legendary analyst met his prerequisites for impartiality by remaining impartially 100 per cent behind the Panthers.
As the Mountain Men scraped to their first grand final since 2003, viewers were pointing out Gould’s uncanny similarities in the broadcast to other iconic calls, such as Norman May in the Olympics and Phil Gould in Origin.
Swinging between insightful analysis and anxious barracking, debate raged whether the former general manager still considered himself within the inner sanctum at Penrith or if he just really, really, really loves the Panthers and/or his old parking permit.
Nevertheless, with Channel Nine holding exclusive rights to the decider, concerns are growing the broadcast could spiral into Penrith’s own version of Fox News, only with more screaming and Grecian 2000.
Sunday’s clash is shaping as one of most anticipated match-ups in recent times, with interest set to grow to record proportions unless the Daily Telegraph leak the result beforehand.
The tale of the tape reveals both sides staking serious claims for the title, with Penrith brimming with confidence on the back of a 17-match winning streak, while the Storm are two years overdue.
But Gould’s role looms as an awkward decision for Nine unless network bosses can somehow channel his unending energy for the club into something more palatable, such as promos for The Block.
Alternatively, the decision could be taken out of the broadcaster’s hands should the government plausibly complete a royal commission about footy barracking some time before kick-off.
For those unaware, former prime minister Kevin Rudd has released a petition calling for a review into media saturation in Australia, claiming mass bias has reached the dramatic levels only seen by communist domiciles or Paul Vautin.
Rudd says he is acting on behalf of a groundswell of condemnation towards the Rupert Murdoch media empire, with the magnate alleged of holding unfair sway over Australia’s democracy with his barely concealed political leanings and Mad Monday ambushes.
But despite the obvious similarities, the link between Gould and Murdoch has been described as apples and oranges. While the Fox Corporation chairman may have piloted targeted campaigns through his multiple platforms that have influenced elections and shaped policy for decades to come, Gould’s influence is much greater.
For comparison, Murdoch owns 70 per cent of the print media in Australia, while Gould has 100% Footy. Additionally, the commentator enjoys imposing reach through television, radio, podcasts and a newspaper column, not to mention a highly entertaining Twitter feed and numerous feuds.
The Gould conundrum further adds to his already imposing shadow over this grand final, with opinion split on his level of influence in blooding the new breed of Panthers.
This sees many fans lauding his tenure for the unrivalled pathways he created for nurturing local talent, whereas others bemoan his decision to ship these juniors to the Titans on full pay.
Others point out that Ivan Cleary has soared since Gould left, with the commentator’s departure finally allowing the coach the freedom to sack and hire himself as he sees fit.
Despite being outsiders with bookies, Penrith will enter the match as sentimental favourites. This is despite a large number of fans declaring they would like to see the greatest player of all time retire with a win despite no chance of Isaah Yeo retiring whatsoever.