NRL 2023: NSW Blues coaching staff, Phil Gould chief adviser, Brad Fittler coaching extension, NSWRL board, NRL360, news, highlights, videos

Following a NSW Blues coaching staff shake up, questions have been raised over the potential involvement of Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould.

Fittler, who is currently off-contract, is reportedly set to earn a 12-month coaching extension and pitched Gould’s involvement to the NSWRL board.

Gould is the most successful coach in Blues history, but The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield questioned if he will have time for the potential role.

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He explained that some weeks he even misses Bulldogs games, despite being the club’s general manager of football.

“When he talked to the NSWRL (board) last week, I don’t think he gave them specifics about what Gus’ role would be,” The Daily Telegraph’s Brent Read said.

“That’s why they have asked him to come back with specifics… I think he was in the background (this year).

“I think he selected Tevita Pangai Junior Ready, of course he did. Why would they pick Tevita if he wasn’t recommended by Gus?” Rothfield said.

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“I think Gus has a lot of sway in Freddy’s life… what worries me is Gus doesn’t have time as a general manager of Canterbury to go to their games.

“He often misses them, which is unusual for general managers, because he works for Channel 9.

“I don’t know where he is going to find the time to really assist, you know Freddy needs more than a Wednesday night helper.”

Gould’s potential involvement also emerged after it was reported Ivan Cleary was set to join the NSW coaching staff after sitting in the coach’s box in Game III.

However, Read went on to explain that Cleary’s name “wasn’t mentioned” to the NSWRL board, with Gould potentially looming as the Blues’ saviour.

“He gets Origin… Freddy needs all the help he can get at the moment, if you consider the last two series, he has been played off a break by Billy Slater,” Read said.

“I think he should take as much influence as he can off Gus, he needs help big time.”

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However, Rothfield questioned what influence Gould can have on the NSW camp and urged Fittler to look in a different direction.

“I just wonder what he can bring? I think he needs an experienced first grade coach sitting next to him because on a couple of occasions we did stuff up our team changes,” Rothfield said.

“Nicho and we didn’t have our bench covered properly. We saw what happened when Cleary was on his side in the third game.”

Meanwhile, it has since emerged Blues legends Paul McGregor, Danny Buderus and Greg Alexander have all stood down from their respective roles.

Their decision reportedly left the NSWRL board “taken aback”, but NRL360 host Braith Anasta posed a big question.

“But where they bailed out or told to leave?” Anasta asked.

“I think some jumped before they got the tap,” Read added.

Originally published as ‘Worries me’: Doubts over shock Blues return for Gus amid Freddy’s plea for help

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