Gould stamps authority at Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gould stamps authority at Panthers

By David Beniuk 20/06/2011 08:59:42 PM Comments (0)

Five weeks into his reign at Penrith, the NRL club's new football supremo Phil Gould has stamped his authority, following up a move to have Matt Elliott step down with the sacking of Daine Laurie and the fining of Michael Jennings.

As Steve Georgallis was handed an audition for the head coaching job made vacant by Elliott and Gould spoke of instilling a new culture at the club, Laurie and Jennings were disciplined for alcohol-related off-field incidents.

Laurie, who was sacked by the Wests Tigers over off-field issues in 2009, was cut loose for drinking on a flight with Panthers feeder club Windsor to Auckland on Friday.

Officials said the serial bad boy was on a final warning from Gould.

Star centre Jennings was fined $10,000 for consuming alcohol during his recovery from an ankle injury and for not adhering to medical advice.

The injured NSW State of Origin star was told to keep his leg in a brace and to use crutches, advice officials said Jennings had ignored.

The stunning developments overshadowed the earlier announcement that Elliott, due to leave the club at the end of the season when his contract expired, had agreed to Gould's request to step down immediately.

Assistant Georgallis was named as his replacement for the remainder of the year, the 43-year-old former Eastern Suburbs, Western Suburbs and Wests Tigers half among more than a dozen candidates Gould has already spoken to about 2012.

Former St George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown and Warriors' mentor Ivan Cleary - who has denied he will leave Auckland - are among those who have been linked to the position, which the Tigers' Tim Sheens knocked back in April.

With the Penrith job currently the only NRL vacancy for 2012, Gould has found himself in a buyers' market.

And with the former master coach adamant money should be poured into the club's vast junior base as a priority, Georgallis could find himself in the box seat.

"I've made no firm decision in my mind about coaching structure or staff beyond this year other than I think we really need a strong development team for the club," Gould said.

"I want to put a lot of money into the development of youngsters through to first grade.

"That's going to take a different type of coaching structure and that may impinge a little bit on the value that I can sign a first grade coach with."

Gould says there has been massive interest in the job and he is still to interview more candidates.

"Most of them have applied for the head coach job. Some say they would take a lesser job if it was available," he said.

"A lot of them are first-timers, others have been tried and are looking for another chance so there's a good mix there."

But Gould has confirmed Georgallis' stand-in role will effectively be a job interview.

"It gives him a good opportunity," Gould said.

"The other blokes aren't coaching here."

Gould met the players briefly on Monday afternoon and signalled his intent for an immediate cultural change, following through just hours later.

"Certainly from a club perspective, there are some things that need to be tidied up and I really couldn't wait until the end of the season to do that," he said.

Elliott departs the 10th-placed Panthers after a tumultuous four-and-a-half seasons since joining from Canberra in 2007.

The decision not to renew his contract was made in April after the Panthers won two of their opening seven games, despite finishing the 2010 regular season in second place.

"They're all tough decisions but it's the right decision and he knew that and I knew that, so that's why it was pretty easily done," Gould said.

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