The Bulldogs have landed the biggest scalp in their rebuild with Phil Gould walking out on the Warriors to take on a role as Canterbury’s general manager of football.
Canterbury announced Gould’s capture late on Friday night, the biggest move they’ve made in a bid to restore the club as an NRL powerhouse.
Gould was first linked to a shock return to the Bulldogs last month, but claimed he wanted to stay at the Warriors, for which he signed for as a consultant last year.
But the COVID-19 crisis, which has prevented Gould from travelling to New Zealand more than a couple of times, has ended with one of the club’s favourite sons returning to Belmore.
The negotiations between Gould’s management and Bulldogs chairman John Khoury were kept so top secret the board and coach Trent Barrett were only informed of Gould’s defection on Friday.
Barrett has added a host of signings for next year, headed by backline stars Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Matt Dufty and Brent Naden.
The Bulldogs have signed Phil Gould as a general manager of football.Credit:Getty Images
And the man who helped build Penrith’s grand final roster will now have a hand in Canterbury’s rebuild as they try to climb from the foot of the ladder after years of salary cap struggles.
“He knows the culture and history of the club,” Khoury told the Herald. “He’s got a winning record and he’s been a big part of transforming other clubs such as the Roosters and Penrith. For a club in which junior league and pathways is so important, what he did at Penrith has them as a benchmark.
“It’s also what he brings in terms of his overall football expertise, his relationship with players, player managers, the NRL and media. This will give us an edge to get the Bulldogs back to the top.”
“He knows the culture and history of the club.”
Barrett’s side is staring down the prospect of a wooden spoon this season with only two wins – one each against the Sharks and Dragons – in the first year since the former Penrith assistant took the reins.
But Barrett’s close relationship with Gould was a factor in the Bulldogs pursuing one of the most influential men in the game.
Gould played in 40 first grade games for the Bulldogs between 1983-1985, and then coached the Bulldogs to the 1988 premiership.
“My sincere appreciation and thanks to the Canterbury Bulldogs chairman John Khoury and his board for their confidence in appointing me to this very important position,” Gould said.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity, with a great club. It’s an invitation to work hard. I look forward to meeting everyone at the club and working with them to set a course for the future of the Canterbury Bulldogs.
“To be returning to the Bulldogs many years later, in this role, is truly exciting.”
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