Tune in for NRL360 on Fox League 6.30pm tonight as Braith Anasta and Paul Kent discuss the drama at the Bulldogs.
Phil Gould has taken the extraordinary step of running a Bulldogs training session on Tuesday after giving the players a fierce spray as Canterbury seeks to snap its six-game losing streak.
In the first major sign of Gould taking a more hands on approach at Belmore, the Bulldogs general manager of football made his presence felt in a team video meeting followed by a field session.
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Gould reportedly praised the Bulldogs NSW Cup side for beating Mounties before giving a rocket to halfback Kyle Flanagan and a number of other players.
When the video session and Gould’s analysis was finished, the Bulldogs general manager of football then played a major role in the club’s training session.
It came just weeks after Gould furiously defended the club’s decision to play Flanagan against Premiers Penrith despite having no game time in either trials or the regular season.
“Kyle Flanagan from what I see, and I see most of their training sessions – I’m not part of the coaching staff, I don’t do coaching but I’m around the sessions a lot – Kyle has been heavily involved right throughout the off-season in just about every training session that we’ve had,” he said.
“He’s at every team meeting, he’s at every video session. He’s an integral part of what the club is doing.”
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While Gould used his podcast to claim he was not hands on with the players, it was a very different picture at Belmore on Tuesday.
Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett told Fox Sports he was more than comfortable with Gould’s input as Canterbury-Bankstown search for the club’s second win of the season when they meet title contenders the Sydney Roosters on Saturday.
“It’s not the first time Gus has spoken to the players. He and I speak on a daily basis often more than ten times a day,” Barrett said.
“We thought it was a good idea. We had a chat last week about some statistics that we keep and then Gus came in and presented to the team.
“There was a hell of a lot of improvement in the first half against the Broncos but then there were a couple of things that I thought Gus could help us with. It was good.”
Gould was blunt with the Bulldogs playing group around defensive elements of their round seven performance against the Broncos before heading onto Belmore Oval to lead the club’s training session.
“I wanted Gus to have a voice in a certain part of the field and give the team a bit of a rocket around our discipline and our line speed,” Barrett said.
“I’ve absolutely got no dramas with it because Gus can help us. That’s what he’s there for. He’s been terrific for me.
“He wants to win too and we all want results so if he thinks he can help with a couple of things then by all means, help. We’re all in it together.”
The Bulldogs orchestrated a gutsy round one win over the Cowboys in Townsville but have since lost six games straight despite a major off season recruitment drive in terms of the club’s roster.
Canterbury-Bankstown added Matt Burton, Josh Addo-Carr, Tevita Pangai Jnr, Brent Naden, Paul Vaughan and Matt Dufty to the blue and white roster during the off season but so far have been unable to convert the big-name recruits into results.
Gould has previously taken a more hands on role at training during his time as general manager of football at Penrith and even as far back as when he was coaching director at the Sydney Roosters in 2002 when Ricky Stuart was in his first season as an NRL head coach.