NRL News: ‘Our game is stupid’ – Gus could face sanctions over latest rant, Souths admit finals dream all but over


Canterbury general manager Phil Gould could face sanctions from the NRL over his latest rant about the state of the NRL.

One of the most controversial figures in the game, he has escaped punishment several times over the years despite holding positions at clubs while also being a media commentator.

He let fly during an appearance on Nine’s 100% Footy on Monday night and the NRL, according to a Fox League report, is investigating his comments and could hand him a breach notice for breaching the code of conduct.

“Our game’s so stupid. You can lose the ball over the line and it costs you 20m and seven tackles. Why?” he fumed when asked about a contentious no-try ruling against Api Koroisau during the Tigers’ loss to Brisbane.

“I don’t know because it’s stupid. But I can just take a line drop out and it goes out on the full no consequence. It’s nothing at all – what sort of stupid game is this? Who sits and makes up these rules?

“Api Koroisau try what the hell was that – what the hell was that? We are so stupid with our rules. Our game is stupid.”

Bunnies refocus goals after dismal start

Chief executive Blake Solly accepts South Sydney may miss the top eight this season, with history stacked against Ben Hornby in the fight to save the Rabbitohs’ faltering campaign.

Jason Demetriou’s axing on Tuesday has paved the way for St George Illawarra legend and long-time Souths assistant Hornby to take charge, commencing with Thursday’s clash against reigning premiers Penrith.

The Rabbitohs had considered appointing defence coach and ex-Canberra boss David Furner to the interim position but Hornby’s four-and-a-half years experience with the Rabbitohs won him the job.

Furner only joined the staff two weeks ago and will continue to assist Hornby.

The Rabbitohs have named Wayne Bennett their first-choice coaching target for 2025, with Solly virtually ruling Hornby out of contention by insisting the club was after an experienced mentor.

But Solly was keen to outline plans for Hornby when he approached the Dragons’ 2010 premiership captain with the current job offer on Tuesday night.

“There’s two or three really clear expectations for Ben,” Solly said. “We want to see improvement in terms of results and performances on the field.

“We want to give Ben and the coaching staff the time to develop some of our younger players who we’re starting to see come through.

“Hopefully guys like Jye (Gray), Tyrone (Munro) when he comes back from injury, and Peter (Mamouzelos) can play a lot more NRL football this year.

“We want Ben and the coaching staff and the players to hold themselves and carry themselves in a way that represents our club in the best possible way.” Management have opted against setting Hornby the lofty task of inspiring a finals berth; the Rabbitohs won only one of their first seven games this year and sit last on the ladder.

Moreover, interim coaches have historically struggled to lead their team to the play-offs.

In the NRL era, a coach has been installed in response to a mid-season departure on 41 occasions, but only three of those caretaker bosses have led their side to the finals.

Ben Hornby. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Even then, none of those three faced as lofty a task as Hornby; Penrith were already running fourth on the ladder when Cameron Ciraldo replaced Anthony Griffin late in 2018.

When Rick Stone took charge from Brian Smith at Newcastle in late 2009, the Knights were in ninth spot.

“We certainly think we can make something of the season, whether or not it results in a top-eight berth, I’m not sure,” Solly said. “But I know the character of this team, I know what they’re like and they’ll be up for the challenge.

“If we can get our players back on the field sooner rather than later, I think most teams will be concerned about playing us.

“If we can get to the top eight, that’d be wonderful, but really it’s about improvement over the next few weeks.”

NRL era interim coaches who made finals

Cameron Ciraldo – Penrith (6th place, 2018)
Rick Stone – Newcastle (7th place, 2009)
Jason Taylor – Parramatta (8th place, 2006)

with AAP

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