NRL: New South Wales will be forced to make changes for Origin 3 after a shoulder injury to Adam Reynolds.
A FORMER NSW player believes Phil Gould’s post-match spray of the Blues will have the opposite effect to the one intended.
Ex-Roosters, Newcastle and Souths winger and centre Adam MacDougall played 11 games for NSW and said Gould’s outburst — where he labelled the NSW leadership group as “selfish” — was itself an embodiment of everything that is wrong with the culture surrounding NSW at Origin time.
“I’m not part of the camp so it’s hard for me to comment, and it may be hard for Phil Gould to comment. Unless you’re inside the camp you don’t understand the culture and you don’t understand the dynamic,” MacDougall said on Fox Sports on Thursday night.
“He’s very well respected in the football word and I respect him, he’s got a better football mind than me but I just found the timing of his comments a little bit interesting.
“Who knows why he made those comments, he would have been better off making them before the game. Making comments like that after the game isn’t really beneficial to the NSW side.
“Once again Queensland show us how to build culture, show us how to build class and once again — as we’ve done in the past — we’re too quick to react and we don’t think about our comments.”
Queensland is famous for its “pick and stick” philosophy, with selectors often choosing players horribly out of form at club level because they know they can rise to the occasion in a Maroon jersey.
On the other side of the coin, NSW chops and changes its side — particularly the key halves positions — about as often as Donald Trump says something offensive. When the Blues lose — as they’ve had so much experience doing over the past decade — everybody is quick to point out where they went wrong and what needs to change.
While obviously respecting NSW’s most successful ever Origin coach, MacDougall clearly thinks Gould’s comments just perpetuate a bubble of negativity that follows the Blues around after a losing performance, and it’s something that will only make it more difficult to close the gap with the dominant Maroons in the future.
Speaking after Wednesday night’s 26-16 loss in Origin 2, Gould let rip at NSW’s senior players, saying they’ve stunted the team’s growth in recent years.
“Over a period I’ve said I’ve been astonished by the selfishness around this camp and this team and the leadership group and I don’t think it’s allowed the team to evolve and have its own culture and chemistry,” Gould said.
“It’s always been about a few individuals and not about the state and the team and it’s no good sugar-coating the bitter pill. Until that element is removed from it, NSW can’t get over the line against this side.”
He blasted how the Blues’ halves have been treated, saying they needed to control the team if they wanted to reverse the slide that’s seen the Maroons win 10 of the last 11 series.
“The leadership in the team is in the wrong hands,” Gould said.
“Unfortunately the leadership isn’t in our playmakers. The leadership is in other parts of the team and the playmakers only come and get it every now and again. They haven’t got their minds on the fact it’s up to me. They’re being led in other directions.”
NSW coach Laurie Daley said he respected Gould as “one of the game’s great analysts”, but completely disagreed with his point of view.
“I know our group, it’s not a selfish group that I’m working with. They’re a group of players that always puts the team first,” Daley said on NRL 360.
“I don’t see that and I don’t know what Phil’s seen to be able to say that, but he’s entitled to his opinion.”