Phil Gould was named the Penrith Panthers “general manager” with much fanfare a number of weeks ago. Soon after his appointment, Matthew Elliott was told he would no be the clubs coach beyond this season and the clubs CEO decided to “retire”.
Then things went quiet…
That all changed yesterday when Gould must have decided he has seen enough of the goings on at the club to make changes, and boy, did he make changes!
With immediate effect, Matthew Elliott and one of his assistant coaches, Wayne Collins were told their serviced were no longer require, with immediate effect. Elliott’s office is said to have been cleared out before mid day.
The final straw was said to be a bizarre period of two weeks in which the Panthers only had three training sessions! Unbelievable!
The Panthers then sacked Daine Laurie for repeated off field issues that culminated in him turning up for a flight to Auckland to play in the Panthers feeder team, drunk. He then continued to drink during the flight. Laurie shouldnt have been signed in the first place, and should have been sacked a number of times anyway, but it finally happened on Monday.
Then, a little later the same day, the Panthers announced they were fining star center Michael Jennings $10,000 for breaking team rules in regards to rehabilitation. Its being reported he didn’t wear a special boot to immobilize his leg injury and was drinking during time out injured, something that is against team rules.
This is all good news of course. Penrith have been a club that have lacked discipline for years. Stadiums have been set so low that basically, you could do what you wanted, the Panthers always were going to back you (Ask Craig Gower!).
By sacking the coach, one wayward player and then fining the clubs highest profile player, Gould has instantly raised the bar.
Steve Georgallis (At one point my PE Teacher!) will take over the coaching reigns with immediate effect. I for one and willing to give him a chance. He would be a cheap signing for a first grade coach (Something Penrith need to make a consideration) and hey, he isn’t Matthew Elliott!
The whispers though have Ivan Cleary taking over coaching the Panthers next year, and I think he is the perfect coach for the job.
He was a player under Phil Gould at the Sydney Roosters and he has shown he can develop players into first graders from a large junior base. He does a lot with less over in New Zealand for the Warriors (Who don’t spend up to the full salary cap figure) and by some incredible miracle, he has managed to stay out of the petty politics that runs rifle in the NZRL.
When Gould decided to take up the role as a general manager for the Panthers a number of weeks ago, I couldn’t have been happier. I did however say that things would get worse before they got better.
This is a club that needs to be completely rebuilt from the ground up. There is not one single level of the Panthers that doesn’t need a complete overhaul, and it is going to be a big job.
Through his actions yesterday, Gould signaled his intent. Standards are going to be raised, and if you don’t meet those standards, you are going to find yourself out the door.
As a Panthers fan, I’m willing to go all in with this approach. If it means we lose players, even star players, I’m fine with that. If we need to sign a cheaper coach, I’ll go with it.
Anything is better than what we have seen for the last number of years. If the club needs stripped back to its bare bones, we win the wooden spoon next year, but sort our problems out, I’ll cop that too!
In one afternoon, Phil Gould solved a number of problems that the Panthers have had for a number of years now. It makes you wonder what the clowns running the club before him were doing for all those years…
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
Apr 22, 2021 0