Gould to leave Warriors for NRL Rivals as Covid realities continue to bite

By Te Ao - Māori News
Phil Gould has taken up the GM role at the Bulldogs. Photo: NRL on Nine Facebook

Gould was previously approached by the Bulldogs in May ahead of the NRL's Magic Round, but turned their offer down to continue in his role as a Consultant with the New Zealand franchise.

But ongoing complications due to the Covid-19 pandemic made that role increasingly difficult. "I'd been feeling guilty because of Covid the things I wanted to do with the Warriors were impossible to do. We had lockdowns and bubbles, I couldn't across to New Zealand."

However, with the travel bubble re-opening around that time, Gould was able to meet face to face with the Warriors and began gaining traction. 

"I've travelled there twice now, and we've put the framework in place for a new Warriors academy and pathways program over there. They've got some very good people working with them."

Subsequent pauses to the travel bubble have seen that momentum come slow down, and a second approach from the Bulldogs organisation became too hard turn down again.

Warriors owner Mark Robinson, and club CEO Cameron George said in a statement on Friday the ongoing uncertainty created by the pandemic is another example of the challenges presented the club.

"It’s hugely disappointing but it has been extremely difficult if not impossible for Gus to provide us with his presence either in New Zealand or in our NRL bubble in Australia," George said.

However, all is not lost for the Warriors, with both George and Gould confirming the Premiership winning coach remains committed to assisting with the pathways programs he's helped establish.

"I still want to be a part of it, and I remain committed to the Warriors and if they ever need anything, I'm there for them. But it just made sense for the Warriors, and it made sense for me too." Gould said.

George paid tribute to the work Gould has been able to accomplish in his short time with the club, "Gus has been great to work with in his time at our club and even though he has been restricted in his presence he has helped us immensely.

“We look forward to continuing to work with him as required. (Owner) Mark Robinson and I have a close relationship with him and our close ties will remain."