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Touchy Roosters dispute ignites mega TV spat

This was captivating television.

Divided over whether the Roosters can be considered a development club, Phil Gould and Paul Gallen engaged in a heated back-and-forth on Nine’s 100% Footy.

The debate was sparked when Gallen pressed Gould on how the Bulldogs would go about developing their own talent under Cameron Ciraldo, who on Sunday was appointed as Canterbury’s head coach on a five-year deal.

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The question prompted Gould to highlight the Roosters’ strong performances in the SG Ball Cup and Jersey Flegg Cup.

“There is no junior league in the eastern suburbs, but the system that was put in there over 25 years ago, about the way they recruit youngsters and bring them through and put them in Roosters DNA … and then they complement that with prized purchases from the outside, which they can do as a club,” Gould said.

“(It’s) served them very well. With no junior league they’re still at the top of every junior-rep and development-pathway competition in the league.”

Gallen bristled.

“They buy those players at 16, 17 years of age … they buy those players, so they don’t develop the talent,” Gallen said.

Gould hit back.

“Yeah, they do,” Gould said.

Gallen: “They buy them at 16 or 17”.

Gould: “Are you saying they’re developed at 16? They’re nowhere near developed at 16”.

Gallen: “They’re developed to a 16-year-old’s standard”.

Gould: “That’s not going to play them NRL”.

Gallen: “It’s a fair head-start”.

Gould: “No it’s not, mate”.

Gallen: “It is”.

Gould: “No it’s not”.

Gallen: “It’s a good head-start”.

Gould: “Well lucky I’m doing this and not you because I’m telling you: that’s nowhere near it, that’s nowhere near it”.

Gallen: “It is a head-start”.

Gould: “No it’s not”.

Gallen: “It is so”.

Gould: “No it’s not, mate. You haven’t done this, Paul. I’ve done this for 27 years”.

Gallen: “You can’t call them a junior — a Roosters junior”.

Gould: “Who called them a junior? Who called them a junior?”.

Gallen: “You just said they are.”

Gould: “No I never. They’re developed players; that’s different to being a junior”.

Gallen: “I’m talking about developing as kids — from the time they’re 12, 13, 14 years old”.

Gould: “That’s not when you’re developing NRL players”.

Gallen: “You’re not, but when you’re buying a 17-year-old who’s been developed from the age of seven years of age, that’s a fair head-start”.

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Gould: “He hasn’t been developed by that age”.

Gallen: “He has been developed to that age”.

Gould: “He has not developed anywhere near what an NRL player’s going to be by that age. That’s the thing. I think you’re badly missing the point. I think you’re badly missing the point, Paul”.

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Gallen reiterated his point.

“My point is you can’t class the Roosters as a development team,” Gallen said.

“Of course you can,” Gould quipped back.

Gallen: “No, I don’t think so”.

Gould: “Of course you can”.

Gallen: “In my opinion you can’t”.

Gould turned attention to the Roosters’ NRL premierships.

The Tricolours won NRL titles in 2002, 2013, 2018 and 2019.

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“I’ll go and get the stats for you. Every time they’ve won a premiership there’s been at least a dozen of their players who came to them as teenagers. That’s developing talent,” Gould said.

After the argument detoured to a quarrel about Roosters prodigy Joseph Suaalii, who’s shone on the right wing in the NRL this season, Gould labelled Gallen “naive” and “uneducated”.

“The Roosters are a fantastic club and they do a great job, but I don’t think you can class them as a development club,” Gallen said.

“That’s all I’m saying. They’re a great club, been at the top of the tree for a long time, but I don’t think you can class them as a development club.”

Presenter James Bracey cut in and called for an ad-break.

But there’s every chance Gould and Gallen continued to butt heads off air.

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