Is Phil Gould Really Going To Invest Millions In Todd Carney And Josh Dugan?

When Phil Gould took over the running of the Penrith Panthers Rugby League club he set about the task of rebuilding the club from the ground up.

After nearly a decade of poor management the Panthers were a basket case at every single level. Gould looked to bring in a new coach and training staff, to fix problems in the junior development system and work towards the greater goal of making the Panthers a hug for Rugby League in western Sydney, something they should have been a long time ago.

There is no doubt that many things have changed for the better under Goulds reign, but the fact remains that the performance of the first grade side has been terrible.

When Gould took over the role as General Manager he told fans that the club would not be competitive for a number of years. Fans for the most part were willing to accept that.

That all changed as the clubs recruitment process came into question. The clubs made a couple of good signings, but the loss of three State Of Origin caliber players, two of whom were local junior, started to put the pressure on the club and made people question Phil Goulds decision making in regards to player movement.

Last week the Panthers made their highest profile signing in Dragons play maker Jamie Soward, a good player, a former State Of Origin player, but a huge step down from the much talked about move to get Johnathan Thurston.

Now, the Daily Telegraph in Sydney is reporting that the Panthers are willing to make a huge offer to Sharks play maker Todd Carney and Canberra Raiders outcase Josh Dugan.

Todd Carney is an interesting one. Even his biggest critics would have to admit that the though of a Carney/Soward halves pairing sounds impressive.

At only 26 year old, Carney is just entering the peak of his career. He has had a number of issues off the field in his career, and injuries have also been something any future club would need to consider, but you can not look past the massive impact he has had on the Cronulla Sharks in recent seasons.

Two years ago I would have been horrified if the Panthers chased Todd Carney. Now, I think it is probably worth the risk.

I think Carney has shown a lot of maturity over the last two season and the way he has been rewarded when he has behaved well has finally seen the penny drop for the young play maker.

The Panthers are desperate for some help in the halves and some strike weapons in a side that tries hard but that just doesn’t have the fire power. It is hard to look past Carney in both regards and if the Panthers got him on their book from the 2014 season, I for one would be excited.

Then there is Josh Dugan…

I can not for the life of me understand why any club would even thinking about signing Dugan.

Looking past his off field issues, which have continued after his sacking by the Raiders a few weeks ago, just the fact that he is so injury prone and so unreliable should see every club run a thousand miles from him.

Take one look at the Canberra Raiders and the improvement they saw when Reece Robinson took over Dugans fullback role. Just the fact that Robinson was a reliable player that you could depend on to turn up every week was a huge boost to the Raiders and took so much uncertainty out of the club.

You also have to consider the horrifying idea of committing millions of dollars worth of salary cap space to a player who has hopefully, finally overcome his off field issues, and then throwing him into a side with someone that is clearly out of control.

Rugby League players these days see more of their team mates than they do their families. They train together, they travel to other cities together. They are in each others pockets for 11 months of the year. Do the Panthers really want to invest in one player who is a possible rish and have him hanging around a player that is a problem just waiting to happen 24/7?

As a Panthers fan, I can cop Todd Carney. I do it with concerns, but I think with the position the Panthers are in it is a risk they have to take.

When it comes to Josh Dugan, I will be disgusted if the club signs him. After the way the Panthers forced other clubs out of the club because of supposed off field issues it would be the height of hypocracy to even talk to Josh Dugans management.

Then again, as Panthers fans know, you don’t get your hopes up when it comes to potential signings. Maybe Phil Gould can mentor both players, we can watch them sign for other clubs, and then sign a few more reserve graders….

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