Canterbury supremo Phil Gould has taken an angry swipe over a leaked image of himself and Raymond Faitala-Mariner during a reported crisis meeting involving the Bulldogs club captain. Faitala-Mariner seemingly fell out of favour towards the back end of the 2023 NRL season and according to recent reports has been told to stay away from the club's pre-season training.
The forward was named Bulldogs club captain for the 2023 season following the retirement of Josh Jackson, but saw his playing time come to an abrupt halt towards the back end of the season. Faitala-Mariner reportedly approached Cameron Ciraldo on behalf of a number of Bulldogs players to express their concerns over the rookie coach's training methods.
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It followed reports that a Bulldogs squad player had walked out on training after being forced to wrestle 12 teammates as punishment for being late. In the wake of the controversy, Faitala-Mariner failed to feature in another game for the club after a 44-18 loss to Penrith in Round 21.
Following his disappointing end to the season, Faitala-Mariner was then reportedly told by Bulldogs officials not to return for pre-season training with the rest of the squad, despite still having two years left on his current contract. It's understood the 30-year-old has been given permission to speak to rival clubs, with his future almost certainly looking to be away from Belmore.
The photo that has left Gould incensed was taken two days before Faitala-Mariner was reportedly told he was not welcome at pre-season training. The image released by the Daily Telegraph was taken in a lounge at the Bulldogs leagues club and showed Gould sitting down in a conversation with the club captain and his manager Ernest Santone on Saturday morning.
Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould has reportedly held crisis talks with former club captain Raymond Faitala-Mariner...
And he wasn't happy a photo was leaked of the meeting 😯https://t.co/R7x3tAYPiK
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) November 12, 2023
Phil Gould 'unimpressed' by leaked Bulldogs image
Gould said he and the Bulldogs were "unimpressed" that the image of the meeting had been leaked and said the photographer had been identified off CCTV footage. The Bulldogs supremo also questioned how the photographer happened to know the time and location of the meeting.
“A photo was taken of me yesterday, in a meeting at Canterbury Leagues Club, and sent to the media for publication. I never care about these things, however, the club is rightfully unimpressed,” Gould wrote on X.
“Leagues Club CCTV has recorded the person responsible. He has now been identified. I am told that he is a professional photographer. I have an image of him, and we also have his name.
“Again, these things never worry me. But I just wonder why a professional photographer happened to be at that particular venue, at that time of day, in a very quiet lounge of the club, and prepared to take the photo that he did? I find it hilarious. But I guess that’s the world in which we live. Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.”
Faitala-Mariner is reportedly set to earn around $400,000-per-year over the next two seasons but is yet to find a suitor from a rival club. It's understood the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) is monitoring the 30-year-old forward's situation closely and could intervene if the player and club can't come to a satisfactory agreement over his future.
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