What ‘worried’ Gould weeks before Barrett’s call

Phil Gould was “worried” about Trent Barrett’s welfare for a number of weeks before the coach’s sudden resignation.

And Canterbury captain Josh Jackson launched an impassioned defense of the man he says was “the most well-rounded coach” he has ever had across a decade in the NRL.

Barrett quit his post on Sunday night after the Bulldogs slumped to a 2-8 start to the NRL season. A 16-6 loss to Newcastle in Magic Round was the final nail in his coffin.

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And while Gould says he never wanted the coach to leave the club, he knew the pressure of the job was weighing heavily on the 44-year-old.

“I think it probably got the better of him,” Gould told Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

“I’ve been very worried about him the last couple of weeks, his emotional state.”

Jackson said Barrett was “pretty upset” when he contacted him on Monday after Bulldogs players were told the news.

The skipper had planned to front Monday’s board meeting himself to plead his coach’s case, and reiterated the support of the playing group.

“He’s a fantastic coach and I really just want to make that known that he certainly has the full support of us,” Jackson said.

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“For me personally, he’s been fantastic for me, I think he’s a brilliant coach — he’s probably the most well-rounded coach that I’ve had. He’s a great communicator, he’s a great motivator, he’s got great footy intelligence… he’s been fantastic for me.

“He’s a well-rounded coach, I went through all his attributes before but he’s a fantastic coach.

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“I hope he doesn’t give it up and I hope he pushes on because he’s got a lot of value to add to footy and to different organizations.”

On his podcast, Gould delved deeper into the chaotic 48 hours leading up to Barrett standing down from the job.

The Bulldogs lost to the Knights to kick off Magic Round on Friday, which kickstarted an emotional rollercoaster for the man in the gun.

“That game on Friday night, it took its toll after the game. We met him again the next morning, I met him with the captain, Josh Jackson. He went through some ups and downs with that,” Gould said.

“By Sunday morning he had got in touch again and he was really positive – he had the program ready for the week, changed a couple of things about the training. Then he rang up and said he was going to make some changes to the team .

“He was sort of up on Sunday morning, then there was a (media) report Sunday afternoon that the board was meeting to discuss… which was a rather embellished explanation of what was happening with that meeting – it was a sub-division of the board that meets fairly regularly. I don’t believe at any time that Trent being sacked was on the table.

“Then Sunday night, something must have happened Sunday afternoon, and after I finished the broadcast for Channel 9… I got a phone call from his manager, who said he was going to pull the pin.

“I left Suncorp Stadium, jumped in my car, rang him…he was sort of struggling to talk, and communicate what he wanted to say.

“I pulled over into a laneway, and sat there for an hour as he discussed his frustrations, poured his heart out.

“He had come to the conclusion, he said ‘I can’t see my way out, I don’t know how I’m going to fix this’. In his own mind he had come to the realization that things weren’t going to get better, and he needed to hand it over to someone else.”

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