Infotainment Factory: Gus' feeling of dread wouldn't go away

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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Gus' feeling of dread wouldn't go away


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Phil Gould has revealed the nagging feeling of dread that preceded the Penrith sex tape scandal, saying he had suspected for a long time that there was something wrong with his club.

The scandal, headlined by four charges against NRL player Tyrone May, has hit Gould and the Panthers hard. The Penrith football boss spoke about the matter at length with James Bracey on his podcast, Six Tackles with Gus.

“From a club perspective and a personal perspective, it’s been like a thunderbolt, to be honest,” Gould said.

“I always had a nervous gut feeling that things weren’t right in our club, for a long time. There were things that I just couldn’t explain.

“Not that I anticipated that this could have been a part of that type of thing. It’s very unfortunate.

“I’ll talk about more of it once these court cases are run, but there was a gut feeling I had about our club and our players that just wasn’t sitting well with me. I couldn’t put my finger on what was happening, or wasn’t happening.

“Now, a lot of things make a lot more sense to me.”

**This is the first SIX TACKLES WITH GUS episode for NRL season 2019 - listen to the full podcast at the bottom of the page**

Gould said that he intended for Penrith to lead the NRL in combating the sordid issue.

“I’m kind of glad it’s happened to us, so that we know exactly the extent of it and what we’re dealing with,” he said.

“But also now, it gives us an opportunity to lead the way in real education and where it needs to start, so that we can avoid this and so that the players can avoid putting themselves and the game in this position.

“There are a lot of aspects of this that have been extremely concerning. It’s been a very, very difficult week.

“We can deal with it now. Hopefully we can lead the way in not having our game or our players exposed to these sorts of dramas ever again. Also to the innocent people around this, who have been hurt by this.”

Gould said that he had been especially “filthy” with wild social media accusations wrongly targeting innocent parties, such as Panthers star Dylan Edwards and the daughter of club legend Mark Geyer, Montanna.

Gould said he supported the standing-down of May by the NRL, and that the utility was in no fit state to play anyway, due to the scandal. He revealed that May had actually assisted Penrith in sourcing the video, after the NRL integrity unit became aware of its existence and alerted the club.

He said that there was a clear message from the NRL in implementing its ‘no-fault’ stand-down rule, which has also seen Jack de Belin and Dylan Walker sidelined after they were charged with violent offences relating to women.

“What it has to do is wake the players up,” Gould said. “Honestly, the players need to understand that this is what it is, this is the climate, this is what they’re going to have to deal with.

“It’s no good them bucking [against it]; they’ve got to understand that this is not going to change. The way it’s covered, reported in the media. The way that they can leave themselves open to anything in the public environment.

“They’ve got to understand. And if they want to play this game, if they want to keep their reputation and the reputation of the game, it’s going to require a certain standard of behaviour and common sense in what they do, and how they interact with people.”

Gould, who declared that he had not considered quitting over the devastating episode, said he could not be sure that no more sex videos would emerge; either at Penrith or other clubs. He said that he had been stunned by the apparent trend of young people making explicit videos.

“What I have been absolutely gobsmacked by … well, it’s a number of things and I don’t even know where to start,” Gould said.

“In the case of what’s been released on video and what we’ve learned about behavioural patterns and all these types of things, was the fact that all of this was consensual behaviour. Which with some of the images, I find astonishing.

“It’s natural behaviour, it’s something that’s been going on for a long time; both boys and girls, this is considered natural behaviour from the time they’re in school, they’re just so ingrained in it.

“People of my generation, and I don’t know what other generations, we can’t understand this. It’s a worrying factor and it’s a much deeper problem that goes beyond rugby league, but it impacts us now.”

Set against all this is the fact that Penrith enters this NRL season with legitimate premiership claims. The Panthers boast NSW’s Origin-winning halves combination in James Maloney and Nathan Cleary, plus strike power all over the field.

Could the sex tape scandal wreck their season?

“The off-season was going really well,” Gould said. “We had a little hiccup: we lost [star forward Viliame] Kikau against South Sydney [in a trial match].

“Other than Kikau, the rest of the club’s at full strength this weekend; Kikau and Tyrone May are obviously missing for different reasons.

“But it’s up to the players now. They’ve just got to put their best foot forward. I don’t know if they know what their best foot is at the moment.

“I don’t know. I’ve seen this go both ways with clubs.

“[Ivan Cleary] has been great [in returning as coach]. He’s really enjoyed it. It’s a different club to the one he left three years ago. With the new staff that we’ve got, there’s been a freshness to the club and a really enthusiastic off-season, a very productive off-season.

“Unfortunately they haven’t trialled well, but I think they’ve been distracted. It remains to be seen how long that distraction lasts with them.

“It’s going to be very tough for them mentally. I’m not going to sugar-coat that. It’s going to be very tough for them.

“They’ve tried themselves to reboot and start again and try to ignore what’s happened, but sometimes it’s impossible to ignore. Who knows what else is to come?”

The Panthers start their season with a derby against Parramatta, on Sunday at Panthers Stadium. They were beaten 20-0 by the Eels in a pre-season trial two weeks ago.

Phil Gould has revealed the nagging feeling of dread that preceded the Penrith sex tape scandal, saying he had suspected for a long time that there was something wrong with his club.

The scandal, headlined by four charges against NRL player Tyrone May, has hit Gould and the Panthers hard. The Penrith football boss spoke about the matter at length with James Bracey on his podcast, Six Tackles with Gus.

“From a club perspective and a personal perspective, it’s been like a thunderbolt, to be honest,” Gould said.

“I always had a nervous gut feeling that things weren’t right in our club, for a long time. There were things that I just couldn’t explain.

“Not that I anticipated that this could have been a part of that type of thing. It’s very unfortunate.

“I’ll talk about more of it once these court cases are run, but there was a gut feeling I had about our club and our players that just wasn’t sitting well with me. I couldn’t put my finger on what was happening, or wasn’t happening.

“Now, a lot of things make a lot more sense to me.”

**This is the first SIX TACKLES WITH GUS episode for NRL season 2019 - listen to the full podcast at the bottom of the page**

Gould said that he intended for Penrith to lead the NRL in combating the sordid issue.

“I’m kind of glad it’s happened to us, so that we know exactly the extent of it and what we’re dealing with,” he said.

“But also now, it gives us an opportunity to lead the way in real education and where it needs to start, so that we can avoid this and so that the players can avoid putting themselves and the game in this position.

“There are a lot of aspects of this that have been extremely concerning. It’s been a very, very difficult week.

“We can deal with it now. Hopefully we can lead the way in not having our game or our players exposed to these sorts of dramas ever again. Also to the innocent people around this, who have been hurt by this.”

Gould said that he had been especially “filthy” with wild social media accusations wrongly targeting innocent parties, such as Panthers star Dylan Edwards and the daughter of club legend Mark Geyer, Montanna.

Gould said he supported the standing-down of May by the NRL, and that the utility was in no fit state to play anyway, due to the scandal. He revealed that May had actually assisted Penrith in sourcing the video, after the NRL integrity unit became aware of its existence and alerted the club.

He said that there was a clear message from the NRL in implementing its ‘no-fault’ stand-down rule, which has also seen Jack de Belin and Dylan Walker sidelined after they were charged with violent offences relating to women.

“What it has to do is wake the players up,” Gould said. “Honestly, the players need to understand that this is what it is, this is the climate, this is what they’re going to have to deal with.

“It’s no good them bucking [against it]; they’ve got to understand that this is not going to change. The way it’s covered, reported in the media. The way that they can leave themselves open to anything in the public environment.

“They’ve got to understand. And if they want to play this game, if they want to keep their reputation and the reputation of the game, it’s going to require a certain standard of behaviour and common sense in what they do, and how they interact with people.”

Gould, who declared that he had not considered quitting over the devastating episode, said he could not be sure that no more sex videos would emerge; either at Penrith or other clubs. He said that he had been stunned by the apparent trend of young people making explicit videos.

“What I have been absolutely gobsmacked by … well, it’s a number of things and I don’t even know where to start,” Gould said.

“In the case of what’s been released on video and what we’ve learned about behavioural patterns and all these types of things, was the fact that all of this was consensual behaviour. Which with some of the images, I find astonishing.

“It’s natural behaviour, it’s something that’s been going on for a long time; both boys and girls, this is considered natural behaviour from the time they’re in school, they’re just so ingrained in it.

“People of my generation, and I don’t know what other generations, we can’t understand this. It’s a worrying factor and it’s a much deeper problem that goes beyond rugby league, but it impacts us now.”

Set against all this is the fact that Penrith enters this NRL season with legitimate premiership claims. The Panthers boast NSW’s Origin-winning halves combination in James Maloney and Nathan Cleary, plus strike power all over the field.

Could the sex tape scandal wreck their season?

“The off-season was going really well,” Gould said. “We had a little hiccup: we lost [star forward Viliame] Kikau against South Sydney [in a trial match].

“Other than Kikau, the rest of the club’s at full strength this weekend; Kikau and Tyrone May are obviously missing for different reasons.

“But it’s up to the players now. They’ve just got to put their best foot forward. I don’t know if they know what their best foot is at the moment.

“I don’t know. I’ve seen this go both ways with clubs.

“[Ivan Cleary] has been great [in returning as coach]. He’s really enjoyed it. It’s a different club to the one he left three years ago. With the new staff that we’ve got, there’s been a freshness to the club and a really enthusiastic off-season, a very productive off-season.

“Unfortunately they haven’t trialled well, but I think they’ve been distracted. It remains to be seen how long that distraction lasts with them.

“It’s going to be very tough for them mentally. I’m not going to sugar-coat that. It’s going to be very tough for them.

“They’ve tried themselves to reboot and start again and try to ignore what’s happened, but sometimes it’s impossible to ignore. Who knows what else is to come?”

The Panthers start their season with a derby against Parramatta, on Sunday at Panthers Stadium. They were beaten 20-0 by the Eels in a pre-season trial two weeks ago.

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