Phil Gould is not reluctant to tinker with his toy, that toy being the NRL’s Penrith Panthers.
As General Manager, Gould brought in Anthony Griffin to replace Ivan Cleary. Some observers are of the opinion that Cleary was “quite successful” as the Panther’s coach.
That would seem to be a question of perspective. In 112 games as coach, Cleary compiled a record of 53 wins to 59 losses, which is somewhat hard to describe as success, unless you were to take the stance that things would have been even worse for Penrith without Cleary’s steadying influence.
Gould has perhaps earned the right to swing the axe any direction he chooses, as during his coaching tenure from 1990 – 1994, the Panthers won a premiership in 1991 and finished runners up in 1990, but his percentage was a meagre two-tenths of a point better than Griffin, which by most accounts would have to be “quite narrow.”
As the NRL moves into the final stages of the 2018 season, it would seem as though Gould wants to move Griffin out send him to Super League or somewhere else.
The name of John Cartwright has been mentioned in connection with a future stint as the coach of the Panthers. He played for the club from 1985 – 1996 and he was an assistant to John Lang when the Panthers won their last premiership in 2003. He served from 2007 – 2014 as the lead coach of the Gold Coast Titans, to which all we could say would be words of appreciation for his perseverance.
Trent Barrett’s name has also been connected with a coaching role at the club. He is the current head coach of the Manly Sea Eagles since 2016 and has less-than-stellar results. He was a highly competent footballer in his playing days, but perhaps his biggest claim to fame was the incessant press chatter over his alleged feud with footballer-turned-professional-boxer Anthony Mundine.
Griffin’s job security appears tenuous, mainly because they have lost five of their past six games, even though they occupy the fifth rung on the NRL ladder. Losing at season’s end is the most direct path to the dole for any coach.