Defiant Gould defends mysterious Dogs coach hunt

Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould has defended his mysterious handling of the coach hunt, culminating in the appointment of Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo on Sunday.

Many weeks ticked by as hardly a whisper emerged from the Belmore headquarters, but among the quiet backdrop were also several comments by Gould that left the public stumped.

The Bulldogs general manager of football said multiple times that he hadn’t begun the recruitment process, hadn’t given it a single thought or didn’t have a clue about the pursuit.

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Gould’s cryptic game reached an astounding point at the weekend.

“When are we going to have a bit of news on who’s going to coach the Doggies next year?” Paul Gallen asked Gould on 2GB radio on Saturday.

“I’ve got no idea, mate… I’m too busy doing other things,” Gould said.

Ciraldo was announced as Bulldogs coach the following day.

The highly rated coach will lead Canterbury on a five-year deal from 2023, as the club strives to overcome a terrible period in its history.

In an engrossing snippet of television on Nine’s 100% Footy on Monday, Sydney Morning Herald reporter Michael Chammas grilled Gould about his puzzling recruitment job.

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“I want to ask you about the way this all panned out over the last couple of months, because from day one you said that the phone’s been running hot with applicants,” Chammas said.

“Then you came on here and you said that there’s been no applicants. You said you wanted an experienced coach then denied when we asked you about Cameron Ciraldo. I get that. And then even with the Tigers you said you’d encourage (Ciraldo ) to stay at Penrith, which the Tigers thought was sabotage at the time.

“I want to ask you, though. You don’t owe it to us as the media, but to the fans and the members, who vote the board on and vote to get people on who have hired you to do a job.. . why handle it the way that it has been handled? Why the need for secrecy around this deal when most people knew that you were in for Cameron Ciraldo months ago?”

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Gould was blunt.

“Is that right?” he said.

“You’re putting words in my mouth again.

“You know nothing about the process we’ve been through.

“Nor do I have, as you said, any obligation to answer that question, nor answer your question, nor answer for any of the things I’ve said over the last few months, all of which, at the time, were true. “

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Chammas produced.

“Cameron Ciraldo — you met with him months ago, from my understanding,” Chammas said.

“The Tigers got a call saying, as a courtesy, when they were talking to him, saying that Phil Gould wants to meet with Cameron Ciraldo, and (the Tigers) notified (the Bulldogs) a couple of months ago when they were discussing.

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“Now, as you said, it’s your prerogative to deal with it the way you have, and you don’t have any (obligation) to say anything to the media about what’s happened at your club, and a lot of fans would be sitting here today at the Bulldogs very happy with the outcome that you’ve managed to orchestrate.

“But that secrecy and the way you handled it … was that vital to getting the deal done, do you think?”

“Absolutely,” Gould said.

“Absolutely. Absolutely.”

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