Gould gives 'goosebumps' in return to NSW Origin fold
The most successful coach in Blues history is back in the Origin fold, with Phil Gould joining NSW camp for the first time in years as Brad Fittler's side guns for a tide-turning series win.
Gould was invited into the NSW set-up on Friday to present the team with their jerseys ahead of game two on Sunday night, delivering a speech that gave 31-year-old rookie prop Matt Prior "goose bumps".
No NSW coach has come close to Gould's six series wins in charge of the state side, and there have been few more fierce critics of the Blues' culture in recent times.
Gould could not be reached for comment on Saturday night but NSWRL officials believe it has been at least five years since he was involved in any capacity with the team, while the champion coach has rarely been part of the inner sanctum since stepping down as coach in 2005.
As Penrith general manager Gould last year declared he would not want any of his young Panthers stars involved with what he saw as a broken culture during Laurie Daley's final campaign as coach.
But with favourite son Fittler at the helm and NSW able to lock up just their second series triumph in 12 years with victory at ANZ Stadium, Gould joined the Blues at their Coogee base to impart a few final words before the captains' run.
"Gus presented all our jerseys to the entire team and his message was pretty simple," Prior told NRL.com.
"It was basically 'this is your chance to create history'. That was the main message for me, he's an incredible speaker and it was an impressive four or five minutes from him.
"All those Origin memories came up and how we'll be somewhere sometime down the track and we'll still remember these moment for the rest of our lives. Little things like that, it gives you goose bumps when he's talking like that, it was pretty cool."
Gould is just the latest in a roll call from all walks of life to join the Blues at various points this series at the invitation of Fitter.
Along with Gould, rugby league champions including Craig Bellamy, Roy Masters have mixed with players alongside assistant coaches Andrew Johns, Danny Buderus and advisor Greg Alexander.
But the Blues squad have also at times enjoyed the company of Olympic icon Dawn Fraser, Vietnamese refugee and comedian Anh Do, actor Simon Baker and the trainer-jockey combination of prizewinning mare Winx – Chris Waller and Hugh Bowman.
No celebrity appearance has been appreciated as much as the pre-game rev-up from inaugural Origin captain Tommy Raudonikis, with the legendary halfback phoning in and put on loudspeaker in the moments before kick-off at the MCG.
Having beaten another round of cancer earlier this month Raudonikis has again been on the line to Fittler with his famous 'cattledog' war cry in the last 24 hours, with the current Blues cohort taking plenty from his standing on the field and his health battles off it.
"It was nice to be able to take him with us before the game and Origin means a lot to Tommy, to be able to wish him all the best and him to do the same for us," veteran James Maloney said.
"You do get something out of those kind of moments and it all helps, it's the same with Gus coming in and doing the jerseys.
"He spoke to us about what Origin means and it was all pretty simple stuff, but he speaks really well Gus and delivers that message as well as you can. It's always good when you get a chance to listen to him and I'm sure the boys got a bit out of it."
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