Phil Gould reveals “ridiculous” situation behind his World Club Challenge clash with Wigan

Phil Gould made headlines when he said Penrith Panthers “should be able to declare at halftime” against St Helens in the World Club Challenge.

Gould has been a part of the World Club Challenge going to Wigan Warriors in 1991 with the Panthers after their first Premiership win.

He joked of the town, “They drown the soft ones at birth mate. She’s a tough town,” on Six Tackles with Gus Gould.

He then revealed that almost his entire squad didn’t want to go to Wigan for that particular World Club Challenge and admitted that he didn’t even know who the English Champions were:

“We actually went in 1991, Panthers won the comp and we’re in the dressing room after the game and we’re on about our fourth beer. John Quayle and Morris Lindsay walk in, Morris was the CEO of the great Wigan club and I didn’t even know who’d won the English premiership that year. The competitions those days weren’t played at the same time.

“Little Morris is standing there and he says ‘we look forward to welcoming you in Wigan next week, you’ve got to come over for the World Club Challenge’. I had no idea that’s what we had to do, I looked around at my group and I thought I wonder who’s going to get on a plane to go to Wigan, I think we corralled half of them to go.

“It was Penrith’s first ever Championship and our boys were on the drink for a week, they were all coming out with excuses not to go. I remember Mark Geyer rang and said ‘I’ve lost my passport’, then two minutes later Greg Alexander rang and said the same. I told him MG had used that excuse, you can’t use it.

“Brad Fittler and a couple went on the tour to play PNG so they played international, Mark Geyer refused to go, which was fine because we gave a run to all the other boys in the squad. You win with more than 13 players in a premiership and we finally got enough on the plane to go across there.

“The boys were on the drink and we didn’t want to go, we just didn’t want to go simple as that.”

He also revealed that in the press conference before the game, the Panthers gave Wigan a picture called the World Club Champions for 1991:

“We had a press conference and the teams swapped gifts, our gift was a picture of the Premiership winning team and our chairman said ‘we’d like to present you with a photo of the World Club Champions for 1991’, and Morris Lindsay looked at me offering me a wager. I just said ‘we’re in trouble here, big trouble.'”

However, after that the Panthers struggled to get up for the game in the cold:

“We finally got out training one day, it was blisteringly cold. They trained us on some park ground in the middle of nowhere. We had a loosen up and the boys tried, don’t get me wrong Wigan were a really good side and they might have beaten us anyway but there was no chance.”

He would go on to slam the decision to play the game a week after the Grand Final but admitted Wigan could have been good enough to beat them without the added advantage:

“I said that’s ridiculous going over six or seven days after the Grand Final, particularly when it was Penrith’s first comp. So yeah we didn’t take it very seriously at all, again take nothing away from Wigan. They were a great side.”

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