The Bulldogs have appointed Phil Gould to a general manager of football job with the Warriors' blessing after the New Zealand club reduced his role due to challenges around the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former Panthers head of football coached Canterbury in the 1988 grand final win and rejoins the club he played 40 first grade games for in a senior role aimed at helping the club get back on track.
Speaking on Channel Nine on Friday night, Gould said his new job was an "all-encompassing role" and he aimed to build junior participation, links to country rugby league, and tap into the rapidly growing female participation.
"I had an approach initially from the Bulldogs before Magic Round," he said.
"At the time I politely declined it because of what the Warriors were doing and what my role was there.
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"I'd spoken to the Warriors owner Mark Robinson who's a tremendous man, he and Cameron George the CEO.
"I'd been feeling guilty, because of COVID, the things I wanted to do with the Warriors were just impossible to do."
Gould said he had a call from his manager on Thursday night and spoke to the Warriors on Friday morning to gain their blessing before accepting the offer from Canterbury.
"It's now just about building relationships within the club and me getting an understanding of who's working there and what they bring to the Bulldogs," he said.
"The salary cap is looking good over the next couple of years if they need to make changes to the roster.
It's always been one of our marquee clubs within Sydney and we want to return it to that levelPhil Gould on the Bulldogs
"They've got a good strong junior league … whatever's in the local area we'll support it and increase participation.
"We'll set up development pathways within the club.
"I would imagine there's opportunities within country areas for the Bulldogs to have a role in those areas as well. It's an all-encompassing role. It's a very special club. It's always been one of our marquee clubs within Sydney and we want to return it to that level."
Gould’s return to our club as GM of Football was phenomenal news for the club, its members, fans and stakeholders, said Bulldogs Chair John Khoury in a statement.
"He was already part of an amazing run of success that the club had during the eighties and his influence during his time here is something that our fans will always be grateful for," Khoury said.
"Phil has a great relationship with head coach Trent Barrett and we firmly believe that he can help to drive us forward to getting back to where we need to be: namely as a premiership contender once again.
"A great deal of work went into ensuring we recruited the right person for the football manager role and I am delighted that the club will get to benefit from Phil's knowledge and track record of success, as we look to the future."
The Warriors cited difficulties around the ongoing COVID pandemic as the reason for reducing the role of Phil Gould within the club and provided their blessing for him to take up a role with another club.
Gould was appointed to a consultancy role by the Warriors last August but the pandemic drastically limited his ability to travel to New Zealand and provide input into the club's pathways.
In a statement, Warriors CEO Cameron George said if Gould chose to take up a role with another NRL club, he would do so with the Warriors' support.
The reduction in Gould's role was brought about due to uncertainty created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions on travel and the NRL bubble, according to George.
"It's hugely disappointing but it has been extremely difficult if not impossible for Gus to provide us with his presence either in New Zealand or in our NRL bubble in Australia," George said.
"He'll continue to offer advice to our pathways staff on request which will allow him to commit to work closer to home in Sydney without the challenges we're experiencing.
"Gus has been great to work with in his time at our club and even though he has been restricted in his presence he has helped us immensely."