He remains the only coach to have overseen more than 10 New South Wales Origin victories and former Blues skipper Ben Elias says that Phil Gould had an ability to inspire players to perform beyond their physical limitations.
Speaking with long-time Balmain, NSW and Australia teammate Steve 'Blocker' Roach for the New South Wales Rugby League's 'Turn Back Time' series, Elias opens up on the difficulty of breaking into rugby league as a diminutive youngster of ethnic background in the early 1980s and the coaches who influenced his career along the way.
He cites Balmain mentors Frank Stanton, Warren Ryan and Alan Jones as key influencers, what he learnt in Kangaroo tours under Bob Fulton and Don Furner but said that it was Gould's powers of persuasion in the Origin arena that brought out performances in him he didn't think were possible.
"The person that really got me fired up for big, big, big games was 'Gus' Gould," says Elias, who played 19 Origins for NSW between 1985 to 1994..
"Gus would talk about what the game meant and what State of Origin was all about and he got me to a level where you'd do things, extraordinarily amazing things on a football field physically that when you watched it on the replay you were thinking, 'Oh my God, did I really throw myself in front of Mal Meninga at a hundred miles an hour?'
"You left nothing to spare in a game that Gus Gould prepared you for. You mentally get yourself so right that the energy you had spent getting ready with your mental power was frightening, and that energy was positive energy.
"It was good energy and it was so strong that you knew that when you left the coach's room after a team talk, you knew four hours before kick-off that you were going to win that game.
"You had that aura and that belief in the next person and he would tell you a story. Whether he made them up or not didn't matter, he would tell you a story that you would go to bed thinking about and you'd dream about what you'd dreamt about as a young kid.
"And you'd know before you kicked off that you were absolutely going to smack this mob."