Rugby league icon Phil Gould has poured cold water on the idea of two brothers from Queensland coaching an NRL team together.
For several years now there’s been plenty of noise about Ben and Shane Walker taking charge of a team in the big league, having enjoyed success at second tier coaching.
They led Ipswich to a Queensland Cup title and reinvigorated the competition with a style focused on attacking and entertaining.
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Earlier this month rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns called for Canterbury to throw caution to the wind and appoint the brothers as head coaches, following Trent Barrett quitting the job.
Since then, Benji Marshall has called for the Warriors to do the same, after Nathan Brown left that seat vacant. The Wests Tigers are also on the lookout for a head coach.
But Gould – who will hire the new Bulldogs coach – has no desire to even entertain the notion.
“My head doesn’t go there, I don’t consider it,” he told Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.
“That’s got nothing against the Walkers, I wish them all the success in the world. It’s great as a fan to watch all that stuff.
“But if you’re running an organization and you’re trying to portray yourself as a professional football club… my head just doesn’t go there.”
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The Walker brothers essentially changed the game with the way they coached Ipswich.
The Jets became a thrilling team that threw the football around at will, bamboozling opposition with their free-flowing and chaotic style.
People calling for them to enter the NRL ranks are hoping they can bring that same flamboyance to the elite competition.
But Gould explained it may not transition quite so well.
“It’s different, it’s innovative. I think at that level it was something that hadn’t been seen before, at Queensland Cup level,” Gould said.
“As to whether or not an NRL club would take the gamble of introducing that type of system into their club … I think you would have to be pretty brave to do it.
“We look at not only the performance of the first-grade team of the day, but how that influences the development of players who come through a system. There’s a tried and tested method for that.
“I for one, as a coach, tried to be as innovative as possible. I didn’t want to follow, I didn’t want to copy what other teams were doing. I felt if we copied people then we would always run second , we would never be the leader.
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“But at the same time, through tried and tested philosophies and methods which have stood the test of time, the Walker situation would be a gamble.
“It would be a gamble to introduce them to a playing group that had probably been developed in the traditional way.
“And as to whether or not you could run a development system based on their concepts and beliefs, I think would be a major turnaround.
“It’s easy for people like Benji Marshall to say it would be exciting to watch – and it would be exciting to watch – but as to whether or not that’s how you want to portray your football club and your business in the long term, it would have to be a major gamble for a club to go down that path.”
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