Peter V’landys says the NRL would be crazy not to draw on Phil Gould’s experience and expertise as the code’s modern-day godfather considers taking on a consultancy role at Rugby League Central.
V’landys is hoping to lure Gould for “special projects”, chiefly pathways and participation following the dual premiership-winning coach’s success at rebuilding Penrith.
“Look, the NRL will use any person that can give outcomes. We want outcomes for our game. Phil Gould is a rare person in that he’s been in every part of the game,” V’landys said on Monday.
“He’s been a player, he’s been a coach, he’s been an administrator and he’s set up a pathway of excellence (at the Panthers).
“So if you didn’t use that experience, you would be mad. And if we can harvest some of the things that he can do for us, it would be a good thing.”
One sticking point in negotiations with the 62-year-old is Gould’s commentary commitments for Nine.
Another is Gould seemingly being set to become a player agent.
“They’ll be addressed at the time. Everyone’s got a conflict in some way of fashion but we will give him projects where he hasn’t got a conflict,” V’landys said.
“I don’t think looking at the pathways or looking at the Pacific Islands or looking at New Zealand has got any conflict.
“If he was to look at the refereeing situation or the bunker, then yes there may be a conflict because he comments on that, and the conflict is actually to our benefit because he may not be as critical.
“But, look, the challenge is there for him to manage the conflicts. But at the end of it, I’m looking for outcomes. I’m looking at things that can improve the game.
“If Phil Gould can improve the game, I make no apology that we’ll use him.”
V’landys said the NRL spent $40 million on development pathways last year and that using Gould in that space could be invaluable.
“Gus has shown a lot of passion about the pathways. That’s where he inspires me,” the ARLC chairman said at the launch of Indigenous Round in Sydney.
“He has seen it all and he knows the mistakes we’ve made and we won’t want to make the same mistakes again.
“Last year $40 million was budgeted on pathways and if you do it wrong, that’s $40 million that is not well spent.”
As well as trying to entice Gould across to Moore Park, V’landys revealed interim NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo was all but certain to become Todd Greenberg’s permanent successor.
“I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the great work that Andrew Abdo’s doing,” he said.
“I think that he’s been exceptional and I’m sure you’ll see a lot more of him.”