Phil Gould ought to take some time for self-reflection and critique his own performance before taking aim at other clubs in the NRL. Gould recently hit out at the Brisbane Broncos, stating their defence wasn’t up to par to secure a championship victory. In this week’s attacks, he zeroed in on Latrell Mitchell from the Rabbitohs for reportedly underperforming in crunch moments.
However, an analysis of Fox Sports Statistics exposes an inconvenient truth for Gould. The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Gould’s own team, are enduring one their worst defensive performances since the inception of their club in 1935. The Bulldogs currently sit at an uncomfortable 15th place on the leader board, having the worst defence record this season with a staggering 615 points conceded in just 20 games – a stunning average of 30 points per match.
For comparison, last season around the same time, the Dogs had only let slide 455 points, translating to a stark difference of over eight points per match as opposed to this season. This poor performance follows in the wake of Trent Barrett‘s departure and Mick Potter stepping in as temporary coach.
Eerily, this dismal defensive performance by the Bulldogs is only the third of its kind in the club’s history. The previous two instances were in 2008 (32.6 average points) and 1935 (41.3 points).
The perplexing part is the Bulldogs recruited Cameron Ciraldo this year, a reputable figure who had been the defence coach for the twice victorious Penrith team. Although it was clear Ciraldo had his work cut out for him at the Bulldogs, most assumed the team’s defence would see some improvement.
Despite these unsettling figures for his own team, Gould seems focused on picking apart the Broncos, who hold the third-best defence record this season, having conceded a mere average of 17 points.
Moreover, Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly was right to counter Gould’s strong critique of Mitchell, calling Gould’s frequent criticism “tiresome”. Gould has been the general manager of football at the Bulldogs since July 2021. His performance is even more glaringly mediocre when compared to the impressive results Wayne Bennett and Peter O’Sullivan have achieved assembling the Dolphins roster in less time.
Despite injuries riddling both the Bulldogs and Dolphins this season, the Dolphins have still managed to secure two more victories than the Bulldogs this year. As such, it might be high time Gould evaluates his contribution to the Bulldogs‘ plight.