Gus speak: allow me to translate
GUS Gould is a man of many words. It's just a case of working out what those words mean.
Over the past few days Gus has done plenty of talking. Some of it in private, like when he told Anthony Griffin that he was sacked. Some of it in public, like when he told the media - well, what exactly was it that he told the media?
As an interested observer of the redoubtable Mr Gould for many years - he is after all, one of the most interesting, insightful and infuriating characters in the world of rugby league - I have become fluent in Gus-speak and am therefore able to translate his recent media conference for those unfamiliar with the language.
For instance, when Gus said Griffin was "a little old-school", wanting to be "more hands-on" and "to control everything", what he meant was, "He wouldn't let me run things."
When he spoke of a review in which "the general feeling amongst the players is that Anthony didn't have much support", this meant: "We asked Nathan Cleary and he said he'd rather have his dad."
His statement: "With a young group we wanted to develop further, we needed a change of philosophy going forward" translates as: "Our only hope of keeping Nathan was to get Ivan."
His answer to the question, "Any chance you'll look at Cameron Ciraldo long-term?" was "Well, we haven't made a decision on who is going to coach the side next year."
This is Gus-speak for: "Are you out of your mind?"
When he said, "We have a preferred choice at this stage but that doesn't mean that's who we'll end up with", what he meant was, "The Tigers can play hard ball all they like, but whatever it costs, we're getting Cleary."
And his words, "I'm not too worried about winning a premiership. It's about developing a roster that is homegrown and has come to us at an early age and wants to stay with the club for a long time", translate as: "Forget one premiership. If we can lock in Nathan Cleary we'll win five."
Then there was his heartfelt apology to Manly supporters over speculation that Trent Barrett and John Cartwright would be coming to Penrith.
"Trent Barrett and John Cartwright have signed new contracts with the Manly club. I didn't want supporters of that club to think I was trying to pinch their coach."
The literal translation of this is: "Who's got time to try to pinch Manly's coach when we're so busy trying to pinch the Tigers' coach?"
But perhaps Gus left the best to last. Asked whether he could work with Wayne Bennett he answered, "Wayne Bennett? That would be fun wouldn't it? Could he work with me? Crikey."
Which is Gus-speak for: "It probably won't happen, but kick it around. Anything to upset the Broncos would be fun, wouldn't it?"
Note: for those interested in learning more, Penrith TAFE is planning a four-year, full-time "Gus-speak As A Second Language" course beginning next year.