‘It’s not personal’: V’landys dismisses talk of Gould fallout after NRL breach notice

We’re sorry, this feature is currently unavailable. We’re working to restore it. Please try again later.



‘It’s not personal’: V’landys dismisses talk of Gould fallout after NRL breach notice

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys insists he hasn’t fallen out with Canterbury boss Phil Gould; the decision to fine him $20,000 for repeatedly calling the game “stupid” on Channel Nine wasn’t his but chief executive Andrew Abdo’s; and that the NRL will place greater scrutiny on club officials who work in the media.

Righto, now that’s sorted, what’s for lunch?

No, we’re not done yet. Abdo has also reminded all concerned that he warned the Bulldogs about Gould’s forthright opinions on Nine – publisher of this masthead – early last season.

“I spoke to Bulldogs chief executive Aaron Warburton in the last week of April 2023 about my concerns with Phil’s public statements, conflict of interest and code of conduct obligations,” Abdo said.

Gould slammed the NRL as “stupid” last year for refusing to give the Bulldogs $200,000 of salary cap relief when captain Josh Jackson retired.

“It’s a stupid rule, we’ve appealed it and they haven’t responded, as well,” Gould said on 100% Footy.

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys and Canterbury Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould.

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys and Canterbury Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould.Credit: Janie Barrett, Getty

He then had a crack over the on-field decision to sin-bin Bulldogs forward Jacob Preston for a hip-drop tackle against Souths on Good Friday.

Perhaps Abdo should have sent Gould a breach notice then because those instances are pretty clear-cut: he’s the Bulldogs general manager of football using his platform to comment about ongoing operational and on-field disciplinary matters about his own players.


Any other official probably would have been breached. That’s why a group of club bosses complained to the NRL last year about Gould.

The NRL drew a line in the sand when Gould again called it “stupid” – five times in total – last month over the Bunker decision to disallow an Api Koroisau try as well as the off-season rule change concerning short kick-offs and drop-outs that go out on the full.

It’s slapped a $20,000 breach notice on him, although Gould doesn’t look too concerned about the whole thing.

Some have accused the NRL of being precious while trying to gag the game’s loudest voice. Others say good on them for having the stones to haul him into line.

Say what you want about Abdo, but kudos to him for standing up to one of the game’s prickliest and most influential figures.

To be honest, it wasn’t Gould’s biggest rant on 100% Footy since the show started a few years ago. It was done in typical Gus-style, faux-blowing up, wide-eyed with a grin on his face, and using a water bottle to demonstrate the Koroisau put-down.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo.Credit: Kate Geraghty

“It was his use of the word ‘stupid’, that’s what has got him into trouble,” V’landys said on Thursday. “This isn’t personal at all. I get on very well with Gus. But we are the custodians of the game and we need to protect its credibility. We take that very seriously.”

From the moment Gould started penning columns for Fairfax and appearing on live broadcasts on Nine, he’s had every NRL chief executive over the years reaching for the Mylanta – or phoning the bosses at Nine or Fairfax to complain.

But Abdo is the first to send him a breach notice as a club official, which is significant.

Gould had until Thursday to respond but has been granted an extension until the middle of the month. He told Nine’s Today on Monday that he would fight it.

From the moment Gould started penning columns ... he’s had every NRL chief executive reaching for the Mylanta.

A Nine spokesperson said the network wasn’t commenting, although there are plenty of people in the building who support Gould’s right to say what he wants.

That’s hardly surprising: Nine is a media company that pays people like Gould sizeable contracts to be an authoritative, forthright voice. Its product is independent journalism.

Gould’s a polarising figure in a game full of opinions, but there are plenty of people who agree with what he has to say about the game strangling itself with rules, crackdowns and differing interpretations.

He was right about the Koroisau try and the change to the dropout rule, which rewards a mistake.

There are also countless people across the game who are board members, assistant coaches, consultants, or getting a clip out of the NRL itself.

More recently, there has been greater focus on NRL 360 host Braith Anasta, who is also a player manager. The conduct of agents falls under a separate body to the NRL.

V’landys says there will be greater scrutiny on perceived conflicts of interest. You can bet Nine will be reminding the NRL if the same rules aren’t being applied to those at other networks.


From the moment the Bulldogs knew they were fighting a losing battle with the NRL over Jackson’s contract being on their cap, Gould has been heavy in his criticism on Nine and on social media.

Gould often whinges about the rugby league media running an agenda against him, particularly News Corp journalists. It’s one of the great ironies: nobody is more calculating when using their media platform than Gus.

He reckons he’s “done nothing wrong” but under the registration he signed when he joined the Bulldogs he agreed that he wouldn’t “engage in any conduct which is detrimental to, brings into disrepute, is inconsistent with, is contrary to, or is prejudicial to, the best interests, image or welfare” of the game.

That’s a very subjective rule, sure, but there wouldn’t be a major sport anywhere in the world – AFL included – that would allow a registered club official to repeatedly call the code “stupid”.

It will be interesting to see how far he’s prepared to take the matter.

After he responds, the NRL will work out a determination. If he’s not happy with the outcome, he can appeal then fight it out in the courts.

Gould did not respond to a request for comment.

Lomachenko’s low-key bout in Australia

Funny game, boxing.

While the focus of the sport is mostly about Tim Tszyu right now, George Kambosos jnr’s fight in Perth for the IBF lightweight world title has hardly captured the imagination, which is crazy because he’s fighting one of the all-time greats in Ukrainian Vasiliy Lomachenko, albeit when he’s in the twilight of his career at 36.

Boxing great Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Boxing great Vasiliy Lomachenko.Credit: AP

Lomachenko was on track to fight Kambosos in 2022 before heading home to Ukraine to defend his country in the war against Russia.

“God has a plan for everyone, and this was his plan,” Lomachenko told me this week. “It was not meant to be in 2022, and I returned home because I felt that was more important than my boxing career. I made the right choice, and we are here in Perth two years later.

“It was not a hard decision. At that moment, I knew I had to help my country. My goals in boxing did not matter. I needed to return home. It was not about boxing.”

Lomachenko hasn’t fought since May last year when he lost to American Devin Haney in a decision branded the biggest robbery in recent boxing history. Kambosos has lost twice to Haney.

“I have talked about that decision enough, but I will say that people who understand boxing know I won that fight,” Lomachenko said. “I am not worrying about a decision from last year when I must face a good fighter like Kambosos.

“George is an aggressive fighter, and he always comes to give the fans a great fight. I have a lot of respect for him. I respect Kambosos for always fighting tough opponents. I have done the same thing in my career, and that is what boxing is about.”


“I love you, Dana. You’re like Michael Vick but with human beings.” – Comedian Jeff Ross with a zinger for the UFC boss, who was sitting in the crowd at retired NFL star Tom Brady’s comedy roast, which was broadcast live on Netflix earlier this week. Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison and was suspended by the NFL for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring in 2007.

If you’re not following the GWS Giants social media account, you’re missing out on some fun times. The Giants misspelt their banner for the derby against the Swans last Saturday: “Our club was born with a big mouth. Your club was born in Melborne’s [sic] south.” To which the club’s own Instagram account said: “Would be funnier if we spelt Melbourne correctly … To be fair, we’re only 13-year-olds.”

Beware the coaching clause! David Fifita told the Gold Coast Titans on Thursday he won’t be taking up his option to stay at the club. Instead, he’s Roosters-bound. Their decision to give him a round 10 clause to negotiate with other clubs has bitten them on the bottom. It was put into his contract because they were forced to renegotiate with Fifita after giving Justin Holbrook his marching orders in June last year.

It’s a big weekend for … Roosters prop Spencer Leniu, who returns from his eight-week suspension for racially vilifying Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam in the season-opener in Las Vegas. The Chooks play Warriors at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, so it’s a safe space. We can only wonder how the crowd will react during Magic Round at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium next weekend.

It’s an even bigger weekend for … Ange Postecoglou, the Tottenham Hotspur manager who has gone from being a breath of managerial fresh air in the Premier League at the start of the season to being under all sorts of pressure with just two wins since March 11. They face Burnley on Sunday morning AEST.

NRL is Live and Free on Channel 9 & 9Now

Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport