NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
NRL talking points: Phil Gould and Penrith part ways
Last Updated: 24/04/19 11:00am
Jenna Brooks has the latest as Phil Gould and Penrith part ways. Plus huge crowds turn out to watch the opening game at Bankwest Stadium.
Phil Gould and Penrith Panthers are parting ways.
The Penrith Panthers general manager, is a powerful figure in the sport. He is a broadcaster and journalist, a former player and coach. His connection with the Panthers dates back to the '70s when he captained the side. However that partnership now looks to be over.
Despite being in just the first year of a five-year contract, Gould has declared his role at the club redundant.
The Panthers released a statement on Tuesday morning after the club Chairman Dave O'Neill and the Group CEO, Brian Fletcher met with their general manager.
"Phil was adamant that his position as Executive General Manager Rugby League has become redundant and his time at Panthers is at an end.
"While there will be opportunity for further reflection once matters are formalised, I wish to acknowledge the extraordinary impact Phil has had on this club since returning as Executive General Manager in 2011," the statement read.
Tensions have been high between Gould and the board after he tried to bring Wayne Bennett in to replace the sacked Anthony Griffin as coach last year, however he was overruled by the board, who instead chose to bring back Ivan Cleary.
Cleary and Gould's relationship went south in 2015, when Gould fired him, suggesting he looked 'tired'. However, Gould insists his decision to walk has nothing to do with his relationship with the coach.
"It's got nothing to do with it whatsoever," Gould told Channel Seven.
"I always said this job would one day become redundant and I think that time is very close."
Since Cleary's arrival, Gould's role with the club has been dramatically reduced. The NRL supremo has been linked with a move to Cronulla, while reports suggest St George Illawarra are also chasing him.
Almost every week John Bateman makes my NRL Talking Points, because he is just that good!
The former Wigan star was again outstanding, as he led Canberra to a 26-22 win over Brisbane.
The second-rower scored his first NRL try against the Broncos, after setting up a four-pointer for Joey Leilua.
Bateman also made three tackle busts, 50 tackles, a linebreak and linebreak assist, as the Raiders continue their brilliant start to the season.
In fact, Canberra join Melbourne and the Roosters on 10-points at the top of the ladder, to make it their best start to a season since 2003.
Ryan Sutton is also making his presence felt Down Under, touching down with his first try of the season.
Referees have again this week found themselves in the headlines.
NRL Head of Football Graham Annesley has apologised after officials in the St George Illawarra - Manly game overlooked what would have been a decisive penalty that could have sent the game into golden point.
The Sea Eagles were trailing 12-10 with seconds left, when Dragons centre Tim Lafai prevented Manly winger Reuben Garrick from competing for the ball.
Annesley admits officials got it wrong and should have called a penalty against the Dragons.
"In our view the person most primarily responsible for missing that was the touch judge who was standing directly beside it," Annesley said.
"[The officials] agree it should have been a penalty. It's a big miss given the circumstances."
The touch judge responsible for missing the escort penalty has been dropped to reserve grade.
While the Easter weekend brought out record crowds for Super League, there were huge attendances in the NRL as well.
Almost 30,000 fans watched Parramatta thrash the Tigers 51-6 in the first game at the new Bankwest Stadium.
The new home to the Eels and Tigers, who will host four games there this season, has received plenty of praise from players, coaches, supporters and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.
"There's no doubt this is a game-changer. The venue will re-define the event experience for rugby league fans," Greenberg said.
Parramatta legend Peter Sterling is hoping their new home will inspire success for the Eels.
"I was just really impressed. The fans were fantastic. It was a sea of blue and gold and I know that's a cliche but that's exactly what it was," Sterling told Channel 9.
The new stadium, which cost more than £230m to build, is the first of a number of new-era stadiums that will come online over the next five years.