‘The boys know who the coach is’: Barrett weighs in on Bulldogs drama

A defiant Trent Barrett has denied claims he is being undermined by Phil Gould at Canterbury, declaring the Bulldogs players “know who the coach is”.

Head coach Barrett has found himself under siege after it emerged Gould — who is the Bulldogs’ general manager of football — had taken a field and video session this week.

It prompted concerns that power was being taken away from Barrett, with Gould having previously removed coaches while in off-field roles at both Penrith and the Sydney Roosters.

The Bulldogs sit last on the ladder with only one win for the season, which came in the opening round.

They have lost six straight matches ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Sydney Roosters.

The club won only three matches and finished last in 2021 in Barrett’s first season in charge.

Barrett was insistent on Thursday that he had been the one to invite Gould to the training session.

He said it was not the first time Gould — a two-time premiership coach — had taken video or on-field sessions.

“It was my idea that he was on there,” Barrett said.

“He certainly does not undermine me in anything I do here. If anything he is here to help.

“Why wouldn’t I use the resource of Phil Gould at the club?

“He is the GM of football, he is a very good premiership-winning coach.

Phil Gould has been overseeing Barrett’s role at the Bulldogs.(AAP: Darren England, file photo)

Barrett said the situation was no different to what he saw as an assistant coach at Penrith, where Gould would often take a hands-on approach in his role as executive general manager.

The concern for Barrett, however, is Gould also sacked two coaches — Ivan Cleary and Anthony Griffin — in his eight years at the Panthers.

But Barrett was adamant he was not having his power diminished or that his job was in jeopardy.

“The boys know who the coach is,” Barrett said.

“Gus (Gould) doesn’t interfere with any tactical things. He will give an opinion and give an opinion to me. We speak regularly. That’s his job.

“I have someone like (former All Blacks coach) Steve Hansen here who will be back from Japan in a few months. He’s a resource we have and I’m going to use him.”

Gould guided the Bulldogs to their 1988 premiership win in his first season as first grade coach.

He coached Penrith to its first premiership in 1991 and helped resurrect the Roosters when he was in charge between 1995 and 1999.


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