No one person in rugby league is more polarising of opinion than Philip Ronald Gould.
A man who has been in and around rugby league for the best part of five decades, you either love him or really really hate him – there’s not much in between.
As the casual observer who supported neither team in this year’s grand final, many were neither fussed nor cared who came away with chocolates, particularly as neither the Panthers or the Rabbitohs have had much recent success.
The one thing however that agonisingly sat in the back of everyone’s mind was that, rightfully or not, Phil Gould was going to take some sort of credit for this Penrith team’s victory.
Even though Gould left Penrith as an administrator a number of years and a few clubs ago now, we are still treated to his rhetoric during Channel 9 games. He likes to tell us all about how he played the “doting uncle ” to many a Penrith junior cum first grader as they rose through the ranks
Even though he has had tenures at the Warriors, the Dragons and is now the newly appointed head of operations at the Bulldogs – without so much as hint of any success at either club – it always comes back to him being the messiah of the ‘chocolate soldiers’.
Some may say he is the most successful State of Origin coach, but then some may say his winning percentage in first grade coaching of 59 percent, pales in comparison to Craig Bellamy’s at 70 percent.
Others will argue that Billy Burns could have coached that Melbourne side to as many wins, but Gould’s detractors will tell you when he coached the Roosters from 1995 to 1999 ,he was given an open cheque book by Uncle Nik and still couldn’t get further than a semi final berth.
Graeme Murray then took the Roosters to a grand final in his first year.
When all is said and done, next year when the Panthers kick off their title defence we will wait with bated breath for the first claim to surrogacy from Uncle Gus.