2022-04-27 10:20:00

Paul Kent believes Phil Gould’s training takeover is the beginning of the end for Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett and has questioned how players can trust him after sending “mixed messages.”

It comes as Braith Anasta — a premiership-winner with the Bulldogs — declared the club has “gone backwards” under Gould and Barrett.

Foxsports.com.au revealed on Wednesday that Gould delivered a sensational spray to the playing group and took over Tuesday’s training session.

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Kent provided more detail on NRL 360.

“Trent Barrett’s in the review room, he’s got his first grade team there and he’s got his New South Wales Cup team in there,” Kent explained.

“Suddenly with a bit of a theatrical bang the doors open and in walks Phil Gould. He then spends the next 10 minutes essentially praising the reserve grade side for their win.

“But then the tone turned and Gould then turned on the first grade side and gave them all a bake — and I mean all of them. He particularly focused on the spine and among the spine the guy as we know, I spoke to people in the room who said he was particularly savage on Kyle Flanagan.

“Not just Kyle himself, they were all getting it, but Kyle did come in for special consideration which then had everybody back on their heels because as everyone knows in the game Gould can give one of the best bakes around.

“They walked out of the review and go onto the field, Trent Barrett stands at the sideline and lets Gould go out and run the session.”

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News Corp journalist Brent Read suggested that it was a “set up,” which matches what Barrett told foxsports.com.au, saying “I’ve absolutely got no dramas with it.”

“Gus is the master of theatrics, spin and deception,” he said.

“This reeks to me of a set-up.

“Gus has gone in there and I’m sure he’s spoken to Trent about this and that team deserved a bake after how they played. So rather Trent delivering the spray and losing the playing group — because I would suspect the way they’re playing that’s already at risk of happening — Gus has given it himself.

“And maybe it’s his way of showing support for Trent Barrett, so Trent Barrett isn’t the bad guy in this situation and he doesn’t have to be the one to deliver that sort of news to the players and Gus is happy to put himself in that position to be the fall guy.”

Kent agreed that “it could well have played out that way,” but pointed out how Gould has taken control at clubs in the past — and it hasn’t ended well for the coach.

“The problem is this he’s done this before with Ricky Stuart and cost him his job at the Roosters after time,” Kent said.

“He fell out with Graham Murray when he was coaching director at the Roosters before Ricky Stuart and Graham Murray went to his grave, God bless him, blaming Phil Gould for what happened to his career at the Roosters.

“Then you have what happened at Penrith with Ivan Cleary, he sacked him because he was too tired.”

It’s for that reason that Kent believes Barrett is on his way out of Belmore.

“That noise in the distance is the funeral march that’s just begun,” he said.

“Generally when it happens this way it never ends well. And I think that’s pretty much the way this is going to now head. It’s going to take a lot to see if Trent Barrett can be saved.”

Phil Rothfield agreed, saying “it’s a massive vote of no confidence in the coach and his assistants too.”

However Read believes Barrett can save his job by winning games.

“Ultimately his fate rests in his own hands, if he wins football games he keeps his jobs and he’s not winning games,” he said.

“But he’s not allowed to coach,” Kent hit back.

“Tell me another coach that’s been made to stand on the sideline while his head of football or any other person involved in the club has come out and run the session over him.”

Anasta, who was a part of the Bulldogs squad that last won a premiership, said regardless of whether it was a “ploy or tactic” by Barrett and Gus it’s “still bad” and the club “is still in a lot of trouble.”

“I just can’t fathom the position they’re in… they’ve gone backwards and they’ve got Trent Barrett and Gus Gould — two of apparently the most smartest minds in the game – but the club is going backwards,” Anasta added.


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Kent also called out Gould’s “mixed messages” and called his management a “dictatorship.”

Three weeks ago Gould, on his podcast, said: “I don’t coach the side and I don’t get involved in the coaching.” But was then out on the field coaching on Tuesday.

On the same podcast he defended Flanagan and revealed he’s overseen the under pressure half’s development. But he then reportedly sprayed Flanagan more than any other player on Tuesday.

“What about the mixed messages from Gus?” Kent said.

“Do the players believe that the Phil Gould that came over the summer and nurtured Kyle Flanagan and looked after him… not even three weeks later (after the podcast) he’s singling Kyle Flanagan out.

“How do the players at Canterbury trust anything that’s been said now? Who’s the coach? No one really knows now. ‘Have you got my back because you had Kyle’s three weeks ago but didn’t look like you had it yesterday so which version of Gus do we trust?’

“What are the other people doing at Canterbury? Where’s the CEO? Where’s the chairman? Where are those people who are supposed to have some influence?

“They have a clean out every three years or so and suddenly this new administration have got this guy in running the whole program like he’s Idi Amin. It’s a dictatorship.”

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Rothfield believes that Gould’s takeover is “bad news” for the Bulldogs and questioned if — or when — Barrett is axed who would even want to take the head coaching role.

“What Gus did at this session was basically say ‘you can’t arrest the problem we’re now in. I need to get in, I need to do it.’ Long term for Canterbury this is bad news,” he said.

“This is a long rebuild. Would Shane Flanagan, Paul Green, Cameron Ciraldo take on a job with such a dominating figure that walks into training and takes over the football side? Who is going to want that job?”

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Read argued that it’s a “good job” given Viliame Kikau and Reed Mahoney arrive on deck next season joining the likes of Matt Burton, Tevita Pangai Junior and Josh Addo-Carr.

But Kent disagreed and issued a warning.

“If I’m a coach and they say ‘hands up who wants to coach Canterbury?’ and I look over and Phil Gould’s asked the question, I just put my hands down and sit on them,” he said.

“The problem with the Bulldogs’ head coach right now, if they start winning it’s Phil Gould, if they continue losing it’s Trent Barrett and it will remain that way.

“Someone will take (the job) and when they do it’ll tell us a lot about them.”

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Source by [graycupnews.com]


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