The Warriors may love him, but league icon Phil Gould is quickly running out of friends following his controversial call on the NRL Grand Final.
Famed Sydney league columnist Phil Rothfield labelled Gould’s commentary as “nonsense” as Gould was widely panned for disrespecting the champion Melbourne Storm during their win over the Penrith Panthers.
Cronulla back Josh Dugan even tweeted “Is Gus watching it or is his heart talking?”
Gould – appointed this year as the Warriors’ special consultant – started his first grade playing career at Penrith and he coached them to a title in 1991.
Gould’s comments during match included his claim that “I honestly feel like the Panthers are on top” when Penrith trailed 16–0.
Telegraph writer Rothfield reckoned the Storm are the greatest franchise in the history of Aussie sport.
“Yet they are also the most maligned – you only had to listen to Phil Gould and all his nonsense on Channel 9,” Rothfield wrote.
News.com’s Jai Bednall wrote: “It’s not uncommon to see fans rip commentators in any footy code in Australia, but the vitriol directed at Phil Gould during the Storm’s 26 – 20 win was at another level and almost overshadowed a ripping finale.
“There’s nothing wrong with Gould giving his view on the penalty try that opened the game if that is how he saw it – even if continuing to complain about it more than an hour later was kind of lame.
“It was also fine to point out how the scoreboard perhaps wasn’t reflecting the action in the first half, if that’s how he saw it.
“But what wasn’t excusable, and to a lesser degree this also includes (Andrew) Johns and (Brad) Fittler, was the failure to celebrate anything the Storm did in a manner befitting of a grand final.”
Peter Blunden tweeted: “Everything perfect so far with Storm’s Grand Final. Let’s hope it stays that way. But the anti-Melbourne commentary on Channel 9 has been nauseating. They are a disgrace. As usual.”
Shane Warne replied to Blunden’s tweet, writing: “Go on Peter!!!!!! How much do the NRL and that silly boss of theirs hate that the mighty Storm got it done again hahahah.”
Aussie tennis star Dylan Alcott said at halftime: “22-0 to the Storm but ALL the momentum with the Panthers according to big Gus Gould. Give it a rest.”
AFL legend Shane Crawford added: “Sport is all about scoreboard pressure but apparently Phil Gould thinks @storm are struggling … (hold your breath) #pleasexplain.”
Fellow footy great Brendan Fevola said: “Phil Gould is kidding himself. Panthers on top 16-0 down,” along with some laughing face emojis.
However Gould, talking with 2GB radio on Monday morning, hit back at his critics claiming they held their own bias in the way they listened to the coverage.
“They need to go back and listen (to the commentary) again. They only hear what they want to hear. There is a difference between bias and honesty, I’m always honest,” Gould said.
Channel Nine had exclusive rights to the final meaning New Zealand viewers also got to hear veteran caller Ray Warren, Gould and co., who are mainly absent during the season.
Bednall said the commentary team had a natural Sydney slant, given where the game was mainly based. Even Gould’s praise of Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen’s man-of-the-match performance probably reflected this New South Wales bias.
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