Penrith Panthers general manager Phil Gould faces the media after sacking Anthony Griffin.Penrith boss Phil Gould says Anthony Griffin’s inability to delegate to others was ultimately behind his unceremonious sacking.
Despite the Panthers sitting in equal fourth and two wins off the competition lead, Griffin was dumped as coach on Monday.
Griffin has a career win percentage of 55.5 per cent – with Anthony Seibold, Craig Bellamy, Trent Robinson, Wayne Bennett and Paul Green the only current coaches to boast better records.
While many outsiders were stunned by the timing of his axing – just four weeks out from the finals – many within the club saw it coming and Gould admitted problems began emerging as far back as 12 months ago.
The Panthers have one of the best-funded football departments in the NRL and their academy headquarters is the envy of every club in the NRL.
However, according to Gould, Griffin had sought to take on most of the coaching duties, despite his pleas to hand off some of the work to his assistants.
“It’s a situation we were managing for 12 months,” Gould said.
“We kept offering as much assistance to him as we could, but he was determined to do things his way.
“It’s the old school way – it’s the way I used to coach back in the day. We had a number of discussions and I said, ‘we really need to delegate and you can’t be doing all these things yourself’.”
Gould admits it led to uncertainty amongst the playing group, and the board came to the realisation Griffin could not take the club to the next level.
Gould said after Griffin’s future was decided, they owed it to him to inform him as soon as possible and his position therefore became untenable.
It leaves caretaker coach Cameron Ciraldo, at just 33 years old, to guide the side during the remainder of the season.
Asked if the club could still win this year’s premiership, Gould said they could go toe-to-toe with any opponent on their day but needed to turn around their habit of giving up big starts.
“We wanted to clear that up for them so they could have a clear headspace and give their best over the last month leading into the finals and then we’ll see where they go,” Gould said.
“I know they have the talent to be competitive with any team in the competition.
“But I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve been 14-0,18-0, 26-0, 32-0 behind before mounting a comeback. You’re not going to win premierships doing that.”