Phil Gould has taken to radio to hit back at claims his commentary during the NRL grand final wasn’t up to scratch.
Speaking on Sydney talkback station 2GB on Monday morning, the former Panthers boss said he wasn’t biased in favour of his old team during his call for Channel Nine on Sunday night.
“They need to go back and listen again. They only hear what they want to hear. There is a difference between bias and honesty, I’m always honest,” Gould said.
We’re not sure he’d have too many people backing him up with that assessment though.
While Penrith took a while to work their way into the game, not scoring until well into the second half, Gould was steadfastly positive towards the Panthers all night.
That included saying the minor premiers were “on top” towards the end of the first half – even though Suliasi Vunivalu had just scored Melbourne’s second try to open up a 14-point buffer with a kick still to come.
“The run of the play – I feel like they’re doing better than the Melbourne Storm but the Storm have been able to keep the scoreboard kicking with a penalty try and penalty goal and now intercept,” Gould said.
“So the scoreboard is not as bad as what it obviously feels for (Penrith). They’ve got to go on the feel of the game. The feel of the game is they’re well in it. The scoreboard’s just not friendly.”
And after Ryan Papenhuyzen crossed to extend the lead to 26-0 with only half an hour remaining, Gould’s take was that it was “danger signs now for the Panthers”.
Fans, players and pundits alike took to Twitter during the game to take issue with the long-time commentator’s calls.
Is Gus watching it or is his heart talking? Melbourne are well and truly on top. Their defence is on song #NRLGF
— Josh Dugan (@Josh_Dugan) October 25, 2020
Say what you want about Phil Gould, but judging by my Twitter feed he has found a way to unite the entire country, and that’s something to be proud of. #NRLPanthersStorm
— Brydon Coverdale (@brydoncoverdale) October 25, 2020
Is it just me or does Gus Gould have a slight leaning towards the Penrith Panthers?#NRL
— Richard Hinds (@rdhinds) October 25, 2020
— Steve Zemek (@stevezemek) October 25, 2020
Gus Gould still thinks the Germans are on top in Operation Barbarossa
— Matt Goss (@mattgoss_) October 25, 2020
It’s 16-0 and he reckons the other mob are on top. You can’t make this stuff up.
— Andy Maher (@AndyMaherDFA) October 25, 2020
Still, the news wasn’t all bad for Channel Nine, whose television audience for the grand final was 2.97 million people, an increase of 12 per cent on last year’s decider.