Elliott could answer to Gould at Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elliott could answer to Gould at Panthers

By David Beniuk and Ed Jackson 11/05/2011 07:27:48 PM Comments (0)

Dead man walking Matt Elliott may be forced to see out the remainder of his contract at Penrith answering to the NRL club's new coaching overseer, Phil Gould.

Gould will start at the Panthers on Monday and has been given carte blanche to reform the struggling club's football department, with even a title for his job still up in the air.

Penrith on Wednesday confirmed the dual premiership-winning coach and media commentator would join the club's "rugby league management team" immediately on a three-and-a-half year deal.

Current head coach Elliott will leave when his contract expires at the end of this season.

Panthers chief executive Mick Leary said how Gould worked with Elliott would be up to the former NSW State of Origin boss.

"I think that's up to Gus but let's not jump too far ahead of ourselves because at this stage (we'll) let him have a look at the organisation," Leary told AAP.

"Of course he'll talk to Matt, but whether he has got any input in that is up to Gus.

"At this stage we haven't even discussed that."

Gould was offered the hands-on head coaching job but Leary said that would not happen "at this stage", adding his first job would be to appoint a replacement for Elliott.

Ricky Stuart, Nathan Brown and Panthers assistant Steve Georgallis have been linked to the position.

Another possible candidate, former Canterbury boss Steve Folkes, is out of the equation after joining St George Illawarra as an assistant from 2012.

Leary said he had "collated" information on potential coaches to give to Gould, who conceded the club would not be paying massive money for its new boss.

"We can afford a coach that's looking for an opportunity and is ready to work hard and we've got the only job that's left in town," Gould told the Nine Network.

Leary said the club had first contacted Gould when their offer to Test coach Tim Sheens fell through nearly two weeks ago.

The 52-year-old is contracted to the Nine Network until the end of next year and also writes columns for Fairfax but Leary said Gould would be a full-time employee.

"Of course we have to take into consideration his media commitments, that's being addressed," Leary said.

"I'm pretty sure they'll continue for 2012 but Gus will be available to us at every opportunity.

"Once we sit down and hear what he's got to say and what he wants to be involved in, of course we will know a lot more of his involvement.

"But, overall, the first major point that he would have on his agenda would be finding a new coach.

"At this stage we really haven't given him a title but, put it this way, he'll be heavily involved in the rugby league organisation."

The Panthers' financial plight has recently made headlines, with revelations players have needed to strap themselves for games due to the lack of medical staff.

"I think Penrith are going to be very strong financially in about 18 months' time," Gould said.

"They've come through a very hard period, a period of pretty high debt, but they're getting that debt down."

Gould began his playing career at Penrith between 1976-79.

He coached Canterbury to the 1988 premiership and the Panthers to the 1991 title, while he is also the Blues' most successful mentor with six series wins.

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