Bulldogs general manager of football Phil Gould admits Adam Elliott's time at the club is hanging in the balance, with his history of alcohol-related incidents wearing thin.
Speaking to James Bracey for Wide World of Sports' Six Tackles with Gus podcast this morning, Gould gave an in-depth breakdown of what had happened since the Bulldogs first got wind of Elliott's misbehaviour at a Gold Coast restaurant, with a board meeting on Monday night determining that no decision would be made on his future until the NRL Integrity Unit had completed its findings.
However, Gould made clear that it rankled Canterbury that Elliott had given the media an opportunity to "regurgitate" stories of his past indiscretions, making what might otherwise have been treated as "not a major issue" something bigger.
"In Adam's case, and what I tried to explain to Adam, while you think this might not be a major issue, it is actually because it allows the media to regurgitate all that stuff, and that's apart from 'what the hell were you thinking anyway' and why did you put yourself and get yourself into this position," Gould said.
"You may think that it's only a minor issue but it's actually not and they've got to learn to understand why that happens.
"In isolation sometimes they're not major issues but they accumulate over time and sponsors and members and fans and, as I say, staff, everyone starts to get worn by it and tired by it and when it's the same culprits all the time, that's when they start to get intolerant of it to be honest."
Elliott's latest indiscretion evolved into a more salacious story when it was revealed in the media that NRLW star Millie Boyle was at the restaurant with him and they'd been seen going into the bathroom of the establishment together.
Boyle has since given an interview to explain her side of the story, saying "all we did was have a kiss in the bathroom" and claiming it's "a big kerfuffle about nothing" yet it gave the story new life and ensured Elliott and the Bulldogs stayed in the headlines for another couple of days.
When it comes to tawdry headlines, Elliott has form after playing a leading role in the Mad Monday nudity controversy in 2018 and then being grilled by the Bulldogs over reports that he was involved in a love triangle with ex-teammate Michael Lichaa and Lichaa's fiancee Kara Childerhouse - a situation that came to light when Lichaa sprung them together at Elliott's house, resulting in a physical altercation and police charges against Lichaa. The matter is still before the courts and the ex-Canterbury hooker denies he assaulted anyone, entering not guilty pleas.
Gould said there were plenty of instances in the past where clubs have had a gutful of players after one incident too many and terminated their contract.
"We see it happen from time to time with players and clubs and they bounce around and try to start something somewhere else," Gould said.
"I don't know whether that will be the case with Adam or not, but that will be a decision we make once the NRL Integrity Unit's done its job."
Gould said it had started to hit home for Elliott that his NRL career was hanging in the balance, with the Bulldogs ensuring he has plenty of support around him to deal with concerns for his welfare.
It's for that reason, Gould added, that he had made the decision to keep Elliott in Queensland with the first grade side rather than allowing him to go to Darwin to visit his family or come back to Sydney.
Elliott stood down by Bulldogs
"I've been doing this a long time and you feel for them but there are two parts to this, there's the welfare of the player and with Adam Elliott we made the decision to stand him down for the last two games of the season, and then what do we do?" Gould said.
"Do we keep him in camp or do we send him home? He wanted to go to Darwin to visit his former partner and child and I didn't want to send him there on his own and I didn't want him to come back to Sydney on his own so we've kept him with the team because there's a welfare issue with this now.
"There's a mental health issue and we've got to be very guarded with how he deals with this because as the reasoning comes to hand, he's sort of realising now what's happened and the ramifications for that, not only football wise but in his personal life.
"As I say this will resolve itself in one way or another, his relationship with the Bulldogs, in the next week or so I suppose, but there are other personal issues that are going to go on beyond that outside of football and we've got to be mindful of the mental health and the welfare of the player also."
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