Gould: 'Griffin lost the dressing room'
PENRITH Panthers have dumped coach Anthony Griffin on the eve of the NRL finals, confirming speculation that was first revealed six weeks ago.
The Panthers coach was informed by the club's general manager Phil Gould on Monday that his services would not be required beyond this season.
Gould said Griffin had lost the support of the players and others on the coaching staff.
He said a recent review conducted by the club revealed the unrest.
Gould confirmed Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo would be head coach for the remainder of the season, but he would be keeping a close eye on the situation.
Recently retired hooker Peter Wallace will assist Ciraldo as the Panthers head into the finals.
The club is no rush to appoint a successor for 2019.
Gould revealed CEO Brian Fletcher contacted Griffin's manager Wayne Beavis over the weekend to break the news to him.
They made a decision to wait until after the Raiders game to tell Griffin on Monday morning.
The players were not informed of the decision until later in the day.
Griffin will be paid out more than $1 million for the final two years of his contract, an extension which Gould announced at the club's presentation night last October.
Gould had continually denied reports Griffin's job was on the line and only last weekend rejected claims Manly coach Trent Barrett would be coaching Penrith.
If one more journalist suggests Trent Barrett &/or John Cartwright are coming to Panthers next season, I will scream. Read my lips: ITS NOT HAPPENING. It’s never been suggested. It’s never been considered. Apologies to fans of both clubs. I don’t know who starts this stuff.— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) 2 August 2018
Gould was forced to defend rumours in June that Griffin's influence was being diluted at the club.
"We have 22 full-time people working in football at the Panthers Academy. Everything is overseen by head coach Anthony Griffin,' Gould told The Daily Telegraph in June.
"It's a huge job these days. It's not like the old days where the head coach did everything.
"The best coaches today rely heavily on their specialist staff members across all areas of coaching and development.
"Cameron Ciraldo has been Anthony's assistant NRL coach for the past two seasons and is an outstanding young coach.
"He has recently been joined by Peter Wallace who has already shown us what an asset he will be to this club in his new role."
Asked had Ciraldo taken over some of Griffin's duties, Gould said: "No. He works for the head coach."
Griffin has made the finals in his three years at the club and has the Panthers running in equal fourth position on the ladder with St George Illawarra four weeks from the finals.
A high ranking Panthers official recently confirmed there had been some tension and recent disagreements between the pair over the direction of the side.
And that Gould had instructed assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo to take on a bigger role.
This is the second time Gould has cut short the tenure of a Penrith coach in recent years.
He also sacked now Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary in 2015, a year before his contract was up, before subsequently appointing former Broncos boss Griffin.
The club is coming off back-to-back come from behind victories against the Sea Eagles and Raiders.