Gould wants to bring Panther Academy to central west

WESTERN Rams could have more players noticed by NRL clubs with Penrith Panthers general manager Phil Gould hoping to include the central west in the club’s development academy.
Nanjing Night Net

Gould was in Orange during the week to speak at the Western NSW Leadership Primary Principals Association conference.

The Channel Nine identity and former NSW Origin coach said he wanted to help develop players in the country areas to give them the best opportunity to compete at the highest level.

“I want to bring a Panthers Academy out to Orange,” Gould said.

“The academy we’re setting up, I want to satellite that to places like Bathurst and Orange and Port Macquarie and different areas around so that we’ve got development officers and game development officers in each group helping out the volunteers and the local leagues and the school teachers and giving the kids a better profile and regular visits from the first grade side out this way.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day but it’s all on the table to be done in the future.”

Gould said country areas were the key to the development of the game, particularly at the grass roots level.

When a television broadcast deal for the NRL worth more than $1billion was agreed to this week, many hoped some of the money would go to the grass roots level.

“That’s why we pushed so hard to get an independent commission,” Gould said.

“They’ll sit back and as business people get to know all the needs of the game, grass roots, junior leagues to country areas to community programs that need to be done to sell our brand and then also the professionals that play our game and dedicate their lives to it.

“There are a lot of people who have their hands up looking for extra funding.

“The game’s been somewhat under-funded up until now and I believe the funds that we did have weren’t used as wisely as they could have been.

“We’re certainly hoping for greater expertise in how those funds are handed out now and everyone understands the priorities of grass roots and country rugby league and restoring facilities and support for the volunteers out there who do such great jobs.”

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