Phil Gould has given his side of story that has taken off in its own direction since Latrell Mitchell's high hit on Joey Manu broke the Roosters star's face on Friday night.
Calling the Roosters v Rabbitohs match for Nine, Gould formed an immediate opinion that while Mitchell had got the tackle wrong, Manu's injuries were the result of an awful "accident", nothing more sinister.
Gould also analysed the coaches' press conferences in Nine's post-game coverage, agreeing with Wayne Bennett that Trent Robinson had no right to call Mitchell out about his tackling style given the consistent issues Roosters players, particularly Victor Radley, had struggled with following the NRL's high tackle crackdown back in Round 10.
Those views clearly ruffled some feathers in Bondi, with Gould, as well as his fellow Nine commentator Andrew Johns fielding phone calls from Robinson the following day.
However, speaking on the Wide World of Sports' Six Tackles with Gus podcast, Gould batted away claims reported by News Corp that his relationship with Roosters figures Robinson and Nick Politis, with whom he has a strong and long-standing relationship, were 'in the freezer' based on either his comments on Nine's TV coverage or their subsequent discussions on the phone.
He said that while Robinson was "highly emotional" and spoke to Gould across two phone calls after the Roosters coach's battery died and cut short their first conversation, he added that they had also agreed on a lot of points and said the conversation was "very civil".
"We had a longer discussion the second time and it was all very civil," Gould said.
"I understand he was emotional and he was worried about Joey and there were other aspects he discussed and with the Roosters it tends to be that they don't feel they get a fair go. They don't get the same sort of treatment.
"And all that is the highly emotional stuff. And having been a part of that club for a long time I get it, I understand it.
"So we ended up with a lot of mutual ground but he was kind of disappointed that I'd taken the stance that I had or that I'd taken the view that I had."
Where Gould and Robinson didn't see eye to eye was on the collision between Mitchell and Manu and how much blame should be aportioned to the Rabbitohs player.
Gould has been strident and consistent in his view that it was an unavoidable accident due to the angles, the high speed and the fact that Manu's body height dropped at the last moment.
'Latrell out for the year': Gus
Robinson clearly believes Mitchell's tackling technique was to blame but Gould says his expertise, both as a former player who was sidelined for three years during his career by serious head and neck injuries, and as an analyst of the game for decades, give him as much right as anybody to hold a contrary opinion.
Gould was also suspicious that Robinson hadn't watched Nine's coverage of the game or the post-game show before forming his opinion of what was said.
"I don't think he'd actually sat down and studied what we'd actually said and the sequence with which we'd said it on Friday night," Gould said.
"And how we dealt with the two press conferences, which we dealt with on the coverage straight after the game. And I hadn't had too much to say about Trent's press conference until Wayne Bennett had come in with his response, and I said, 'well he's got a point', so I imagine it'd been reported back to Trent that I'd been critical of him, which I hadn't.
"I said I love Trent Robinson but this is my view on the incident, I have a right to that view and it's an educated view and that's the view I hold. And that's sort of where we left it."
Gould has also voiced strongly his opinion that Mitchell would have been dealt with differently had Manu not been seriously injured by the tackle.
He said that this stance was clearly backed up by the way the commentators and officials reacted immediately after the incident, which largely went by without comment until Manu rushed over to remonstrate with his ex-teammate and it was picked up by the TV cameras that he had a big egg on his face.
"The collision went the way it did because it's high speed, it happened at high pace, the game was in the balance and they're two great players, they're both very aggressive and strong players, and Latrell came out of the collision obviously the better," Gould said.
"And someone's come out of it badly. And the emotion didn't really start, neither in commentary or anyone at the ground or anyone watching started until Joey Manu, it was obvious how badly he was hurt and that put a whole new complexion on it.
"If Joey Manu wasn't as badly hurt I think this whole matter is treated completely differently."
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