Revisionist history gives Rothfield a chance to bash Penrith, again

In case you've been living under a rock, Daily Telegraph editor Phil 'Buzz' Rothfield doesn't like Phil Gould, and by extension, the Panthers.


Picture credit: Brett Costello

Oh, to be so single-minded!

Phil Rothfield’s one-man war against Penrith Executive General Manager Phil Gould and, by extension, the Panthers football club has all the hallmarks of obsession and dogged determination.

It’s legitimately not hard to imagine Rothfield sitting at home watching himself on the latest hot-take fest on Fox Sports, nodding perceptibly as he hears himself make what he feels is a valid point, ragged claw gripped around a glass of pinot noir or Shiraz.

Rothfield, slightly tipsy and a little more headstrong thanks to the two or three glasses he’s already squirreled away, allows his thoughts to turn once again to Phil Gould. No matter what’s going on in his life, whether he’s sat watching Cronulla win a finals game or tucking into some spring rolls and Kung Pao chicken at King Wan’s, thoughts of Gus are never far from mind.

Another angle, another chance to bash Gus, that’s all he’ll need he thinks to himself as he imbibes once more, the red going down a little smoother, not quite as harsh against the evening sunset as the red of his nose, I’ll expose Gus and I’ll win the most pointless war in rugby league.

Gould; Far from perfect

I’ll never once suggest that Phil Gould is infallible. I won’t sit here and suggest every decision he’s made since he returned to Panthers has been the right one or that he’s a Messiah worthy of unquestioning allegiance.

As the few guys that sat with me across a desk from Gould and engaged in heated conversation when he first walked back through the door can attest, we’re not exactly pals though I do respect the guy and I honestly feel like every decision he has made has come from the right place and has been an attempt to further the Panthers brand on and off the field.

Mostly, as the rugby league world has caught up to his consistent bullshit, Phil Rothfield is considered nothing more than a joke and a hack who uses his newspaper column inches and time on air with Fox Sports to further his own agenda and brand.

Even the way he ‘broke’ news of Cronulla’s possible salary cap issue smacked of self-serving tripe as he labelled it the “hardest story I’ve ever had to write.”

Rothfield; Like a dog with a bone

This time, though, Rothfield’s transparent attempts to re-write history in an attempt to take another potshot at Gould is laughable.

In yet another piece where he claims no one is examining Gould and asking questions around whether he’s the right man for the job at Penrith, he used the fact that premiership-winner Luke Lewis left the club and went on to win another trophy as more proof Gould was a bad decision maker.

On the face of it, that might have had some credibility.

Since leaving Penrith at the end of the 2012 season, Lewis has continued to play at a high level in the Shire and was Cronulla’s best in their drought-breaking premiership success of 2016.

Lewis was also amongst the Shark’s best players as they dumped Penrith out of the finals on Friday night in front of 19,000+ at Allianz Stadium.

The problem, even Lewis himself admitted his parting ways with Penrith was good for both parties.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

In an exclusive interview with Rothfield’s colleague Dean Ritchie in the Daily Telegraph way back in June 2013, Lewis laid his thoughts on the situation bare.

“I knew something had to change, not just for me but for Penrith as well,” Lewis said.

“My head space was in a pretty bad place at the time. I was pretty stressed out and hadn’t slept for a couple of weeks.”

He continued, “I look back now and all that stuff I went through I am actually grateful for. I learnt a lot at that time. One door closes, another opens. I have a lot of mates at Penrith but am happy where I am at the moment.”

“It got to that point. I wasn’t putting my best foot forward when turning up to training and for the team and club. That, for me, was very disappointing. It was hard to turn up to training and do the best I could.”

Like much of what Buzz has to say, it looks possible on the surface, but even the most minor of scratches into what’s right there in front of you and it doesn’t hold much water at all.

Is Rothfield right or has his desire to bring down Phil Gould turned him into a parody of himself? Let us know in the comments below.



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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.

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