Today turns awkward as Gus doesn’t budge

NRL heavyweight Phil Gould continued firing shots at rugby league bosses over financial mismanagement as an awkward moment prompted a laugh during a TV interview on Tuesday morning.

Channel 9 commentator Gould last week launched stunning accusations against the NRL, saying it was treating Nine like its personal piggy bank just days after the network launched a stinging attack on league’s head office, saying it had squandered millions in broadcast revenue.

As the NRL continues to push forward with a return at the end of May, Gould appeared on The Today Show and hit out at the lack of detail being provided ahead of the potential season return.

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“The NRL last week made an announcement that May 28 was its goal, but with very little detail around that, about whether it would be a revised, modified, shortened competition and that's what started the broadcasters’ nervousness — that they hadn't been included in the discussions,” Gould said.

“There was no real remedy around border control, what happens with the (New Zealand) Warriors, getting teams in and out of Queensland, whether everyone is going to be isolated in one area, what the area might be.

“There was very little information around the May 28 target but I guess the game has to give itself a goal, give itself a planning time frame to get players back in training and that will have to be influenced by the government and medicals, obviously. We see differing opinions about that. It is probably optimistic, I would say, but they have got to start somewhere.”

V’landys and Greenberg will meet with the Nine Network on Tuesday.Source:Getty Images

Gould was asked whether his scathing criticism of the NRL, and Channel 9’s attack, was justified. “Of course it is. It was the sort of outburst the game needed to hear … the broadcasters need to be included on whatever is the future of this game,” he said.

Things then took a frosty turn when respected rugby league journalist Phil “Buzz” Rothfield’s comments, where he labelled Gould’s take “absurd”, were brought into the conversation.

“It was as predictable as the Easter bunny arriving that Sydney woke on Sunday to a Gus Gould rant ­defending his employers, the Nine network,” Rothfield wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

“This from a man who annually wasted millions of dollars in his previous job as general manager of ­Penrith over a period in which the Panthers lost more money than any other club in the game.”

The former Panthers supremo was not having it when he was asked by Today sports reader Alex Cullen for his reply to Rothfield’s remarks, leaving Cullen laughing awkwardly as he tried, but failed, to get Gould to weigh in.

Laughter could be heard in the background on the set of Today as Gould stonewalled.

Phil Gould: I have no response to him.

Alex Cullen: How come?

P.G: I just don't rate his opinion.

A.C: OK. Why not?

P.G: It goes without saying, I think.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys is set to meet with Channel 9 chief executive Hugh Marks on Tuesday to clear the air over the falling out surrounding the NRL’s decision to push ahead with a 2020 season without consulting its free-to-air broadcaster.

NRL legend Phil Gould has lashed out at the game's bosses over financial mismanagement @alextcullen #9Today

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