Phil 'Gus' Gould has been fined $20,000 by the NRL for his rant on TV on the rules of the game. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

NRL fines Gould $20k over TV rant on game’s rules

Scott Bailey May 2, 2024

The NRL has slapped Phil Gould with a $20,000 fine over a TV rant, accusing the Canterbury supremo of launching a “destructive attack” on the game.

Unhappy with Gould labelling the game “stupid” on the Nine Network on Monday night, the NRL hit the Bulldogs general manager with a breach notice on Thursday.

Gould will be asked to pay $10,000 to head office, while another $10,000 will be suspended pending any further breaches in the next 12 months.

The former coach has long straddled his role as a club official at Penrith, the Warriors and Bulldogs with his job as a TV analyst.

Concerns from rival clubs around Gould’s comments prompted a meeting between himself and NRL bosses last year, but until this week he was yet to be fined.

But the NRL believe Gould crossed the line during a discussion around the game’s rules.

“Our game is so stupid,” Gould said on 100% Footy.

“You can lose the ball over the line scoring a try, right? And you get penalised 20 metres and seven tackles. Why? I don’t know, because it’s stupid.

“But I can just take a line dropout and if it goes out on the full or doesn’t go 10 metres, no consequence, nothing at all. What sort of stupid game is this?

“Who sits there and makes up these rules?

“Obstructors, oh he didn’t have his eyes on the ball and he bumped into him and he ran behind him. Obstruction.

“Api Koroisau’s (no) try (against Brisbane, what the hell was that? What the hell was that? … We are so stupid with our rules. Our game is stupid.”

Phil Gould.
 Bulldogs boss Phil Gould enjoying what he sees during a NRL game in Brisbane. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS 

The NRL on Thursday said the comments were detrimental to the best interests of the game.

“We welcome constructive criticism and passionate opinions,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.

“But registered officials cannot overstep the mark and make comments that are considered detrimental to the game or NRL competition.

“Destructive attacks on the game itself will not be tolerated.

“This is a professional sport and our leaders should set the standard around reasoned debate and respect for the game.”

Gould took to social media after being handed the breach notice to post “Rugby League … Its a funny game …” on X.

Canterbury utility player Jaeman Salmon also argued on Thursday that Gould should be able to speak freely on television.

“Gus can say what he wants,” Salmon said.

“He’s been around long enough and he’s in a position where he can speak his mind.

“He has been in rugby league for a long, long time. Whatever Gus thinks, he can say it.”

Gould has until next Thursday to decide whether to accept the fine or fight it.