‘House of cards’ – Phil Gould points out major NRL issue after record Wests Tigers loss

Phil Gould believes Wests Tigers’ record 72-6 loss to Sydney Roosters on Saturday night highlights a broader problem with the NRL.

The Tigers’ biggest loss of all time follows a 12-36 loss to the Sharks last week as they look set to finish last in the NRL this season.

But Brett Kimmorley’s side weren’t the only team to produce lopsided results this weekend, as the Storm defeated Brisbane 60-12 while the Cowboys, Eels and Sharks all clinched victories after scoring 40 or more points.

Gould believes the gap between the NRL’s best and worst teams is widening and that the competition needs to do something to address development issues in the future.

“It was terrible. I mean, it’s horrible from the Tigers, it’s horrible from half the competition,” Gould said on Channel Nine after the Roosters’ big win.

“It just goes to show where our competition is at the moment and where some of the bottom teams are and they just can’t keep up when these top teams are getting it right.

“You get those points late in the season where one team has something to play and the other has nothing to play. Although I don’t understand why a professional footballer or a professional football team doesn’t always have something to play.

“I mean, the Wests Tigers are back there at the end of the field, you want your fans to get some of that and show a little bit of pride and resilience and the same goes for the other teams. But you can’t give up at this end of the season and allow teams to run over you so recklessly.

Gould also suggested that the addition of another team next season will only further expand the club’s efforts to field competitive teams.

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“We’ve got 16 teams this year with 30 NRL players – they’re all in the top 30. Next year the Dolphins are getting 30 new players and everyone else has fewer,” he said.

“Nothing new is coming through yet, we’ve had two years of COVID-19, two years of lack of development – these kids aren’t ready for NRL football.

“This is where our competition is at the moment, this is where there is a real recovery period, and until we invest, every club invests in development, until the game invests in development and until we invest and look at what we have in the Pacific Islands and to New Zealand is available and trying to increase our player pool and take responsibility for what the NRL has not been able to do for a long time. Then it will be a long way.

“The excuse is COVID-19, [young talent] hasn’t played in a few years due to COVID-19. COVID-19 exposed this, COVID didn’t cause this, it exposed it.

“If that will fix the Tigers’ 72-6 loss I don’t know but unfortunately this game is a house of cards at the moment and the NRL really needs to step up in how they invest in the development and strength of our clubs.”

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