Plenty was made of Phil Gould’s controversial statement ahead of the World Club Challenge when he said that Penrith Panthers would be able to declare at halftime against St Helens.
However, despite the anti-Saints narrative that people began to associate him with, Gould met coach Paul Wellens and Mike Rush in a meal before the game.
Gould revealed what the two said to him prior to the clash on Six Tackles:
“St Helens came out in the camp for three weeks, they made a big deal out of this and they got themselves ready. We actually had dinner with Mike Rush, Paul Wellens and the CEO the night before in Canterbury.
“Mike Rush said ‘we’ll be hard to beat’, and Paul Wellens said ‘yeah we’re really ready, we’ve gone about it the right way with coming over, we’ve planned for three weeks, had a trial game and they’re going to know they’re in a game’.
“Putting it bluntly they didn’t put their best foot forward at all and St Helens did, that’s what you have to do in the big games and they deserve the trophy. They’ve got it on the plane home and they can stick it to me all they like, good luck to them.”
He also spoke about having an English team in the NRL pre-season moving forward:
“It was a big thing for them, they took three weeks to come out here. They stayed, they trained, they got acclimatised, they had a trial game against the Dragons which they wont and were just too good for the Panthers.
“They really gritted it out, the good thing about it was that Penrith usually blow sides away early. Penrith start very fast and you just can’t go with them and they they accumulate the points later.
“They got into Penrith early, jumped to the lead and protected the lead with pride and got the job done. Penrith probably score a lucky try in the last minute there to get at the golden point, but St Helens when they go their chance they kicked their field goal and did it very professionally.
“They’re obviously a very good side.”