Phil Gould

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Phil "Gus" Gould, AM, (born 24 January 1958) is an Australian rugby league broadcaster, journalist, administrator and former player and coach. Since the 1990s he has had a prominent role in Channel 9's coverage of rugby league, as a commentator on their match-day coverage, and appears on The Sunday Footy Show and The Sunday Roast. He is the expert commentator on Monday Night Football on Triple M radio and writes for Sydney's Fairfax paper, The Sun-Herald. Gould is also the General Manager of Football for the Penrith Panthers. Before his media career, he was a State of Origin series and NSWRL Premiership winning coach, and before that, player, captaining Penrith and also playing for Newtown, Canterbury-Bankstown and South Sydney.

Football career

Born in Sydney in July 1958, Gould played junior rugby league with Wentworthville Leagues. Graded by Penrith in 1976, he spent two years in the lower grades, before becoming a regular first-grader in 1979.[1] Following the retirement of Penrith's British import star Mike Stephenson, Gould was selected as captain of the Panthers at the age of 20, becoming the youngest New South Wales Rugby League premiership captain since Dave Brown led Easts in the 1930s. The 1979 season marked the beginning of injury troubles for Gould which ultimately kept him on the sidelines for most of 1980 and which recurred later in his career. Specifically Gould suffered an eye injury which posed a risk of separation of the retina.[citation needed]

Gould moved to Newtown in 1981,[1] where Warren Ryan was still honing his innovative coaching approach that transformed the way that top-grade rugby league was played in Australia throughout the next decade. After being also-rans for many years, a turnaround was achieved when Newtown made the 1981 Grand Final against Parramatta, though losing 20–11.

Gould signed with Canterbury in 1983[1] under Ted Glossop, losing in the final to Parramatta 18–4. By now Gould had become regarded as an astute ball-playing forward. Years of playing "smart" to avoid further eye damage had tuned his ball distribution and organising skills. In 1984, under Warren Ryan at Canterbury, Gould was expected to be selected for City Firsts. However, he broke his ankle the afternoon before the selections were announced and didn't get back to first grade before season's end, taking no part in the club's 6–4 Grand Final win over Parramatta.

Injuries also took a toll on Gould's 1985 season with Canterbury. He played only 14 first-grade games[1] that year and captained the reserve-grade side into the semi-finals.

After leaving Canterbury at the end of that season, Gould played the final year of his career with South Sydney in 1986, taking the field in 23 first-grade games.[1] It was a springboard to his coaching career as Souths coach George Piggins – himself in his inaugural coaching year – welcomed Gould's opinion & insight on tactics and encouraged Gould to take a leadership role. Souths finished as runner-up in the minor premiership and Piggins was awarded Dally M coach of the year.

Overall, in his playing career, Gould made 104 first-grade appearances across four clubs.[1]

Post-retirement weight gain led to the nickname 'Gus' due to the resemblance to the Mr Squiggle character.

Coaching career

A successful coaching career followed for Gould. His first five coaching seasons brought two premierships (with Canterbury in 1988 and Penrith in 1991) and a loss in a Grand Final (with Penrith in 1990). Following their 1991 grand final victory, Gould travelled with the Panthers to England for the 1991 World Club Challenge which was lost to Wigan.

In 1992, Gould took over as coach of New South Wales in the State of Origin series. The Blues were victorious for the next three series. In 1995, at the start of the Super League war, Gould's NSW side lost 3–0 to the Paul Vautin-coached team of relative unknowns patched together from the ranks of Queenlanders loyal to the ARL. The following year, NSW completed a series whitewash of its own with the Brad Fittler-captained Blues becoming the first and only team to go through a series with the same unchanged squad of 17 players. Gould then stood down, having inspired four NSW series wins in five years.

While coach of the Panthers, during a 1994 match Gould was sent from his seat on the sideline to the dressing room by referee Bill Harrigan. Gould left Penrith for the Sydney City Roosters in 1995 (actually officially coaching the Roosters for the final game of the 1994 season after having departed Penrith mid-season), at a stage when the once high-flying Roosters club was continually dwelling at the bottom of the ladder. Before joining Easts, the Roosters had made the finals only once since 1983. A long rebuilding phase followed under Gould, enabling them to make some quality signings, one of the most important being Brad Fittler, the champion five-eighth/centre who had a close association with Gould at Penrith and with the NSW Blues. The Roosters were consistent semi-finalists from 1996 to 2004, though no Grand Final appearances came until 2000, the year after Gould had stepped down as coach and been replaced in the top job by Graham Murray. Further Grand Final appearances followed in 2002, 2003 and 2004 under Ricky Stuart, who won a premiership in 2002, the Roosters' first since 1975.

Gould returned to State of Origin coaching New South Wales from 2002 to 2004, winning two series and drawing the third. To date, he has been the most successful New South Wales coach.

Coaching director

During Ricky Stuart's tenure as coach at the Sydney Roosters Gould filled a role as Coaching Director at the club.

In May 2011, it was announced that Gould would take up the role of General Manager with the Penrith Panthers. The role was said by club chairman Don Feltis to include direct involvement in all aspects the football club management particularly the coaching and team support operation.[2]

Football commentator

Gould currently works as an "expert" for Channel 9 and Triple M radio during rugby league telecasts, including NRL, State of Origin and International football contests. He also writes for the Sydney Morning Herald. He is considered controversial within rugby league fan circles for his blunt opinions about the playing and administration of the game. Many of his repetitious commentary catchphrases are used to criticise refereeing decisions: they include "dear oh dear oh dear", "no no no no no",[3] "that's ridiculous, that is ridiculous" and "modern day gladiators". Phil is renowned for repeating his point over and over again[3] e.g. "that's a try, that's a try, that's a try, that's a try, that's a try."

He won the TV Week Logie Award for "Most Popular Sporting Commentator" in 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2008.


In the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Gould was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), for "significant service to rugby league football as an administrator, commentator, coach and player, and to the community".[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Phil Gould.
  2. Gould return to Penrith. (11 May 2011). Retrieved on 2016-07-16.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Walshaw, Nick (24 September 2009) Phil Gould is worst rugby league commentator, say fans. The Daily Telegraph
  4. "The Queen's Birthday 2014 Honours List". 8 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.


  • Chesterton, Ray (1996) Good as Gould Ironbark Press, Sydney