Gus wants Souths probed over Milford mess
Phil Gould has made some extraordinary claims about the Anthony Milford saga, including a disturbing account of how the exiled former star was dealt with by the Rabbitohs.
Speaking on Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast, the Bulldogs’ general manager of football revealed he had seen the CCTV video that is currently central to an investigation by the NRL that is preventing Milford from joining a club and restarting his career.
Gould says the video proves that damaging allegations made against Milford “just didn’t happen”, arguing that he should be immediately free to resume his career after assault charges against the 27-year-old were withdrawn.
But perhaps even more alarming was Gould’s call for an investigation into the Rabbitohs’ handling of Milford’s contract after the playmaker joined the club last year.
Milford’s career is in limbo, with the NRL launching its own investigation into events outside a Brisbane nightclub despite his court matter being resolved.
Milford pleaded guilty to wilful damage and public nuisance and was ordered to pay nearly $2400 for a car window that he smashed with a wheelie bin. He was also put on a two-year good behaviour bond.
Gould said he was perplexed the matter was still being looked at.
“If you knew the Anthony Milford facts like I know of this matter – there is only one person through all of that Anthony Milford thing that has been wronged and that is Anthony Milford himself on two counts,” Gould said.
“First of all on the charges of assault and having to go to court and deal with these types of things, which we’ve seen now the charges have been dismissed because they were not sustainable and supported by video evidence. I’ve actually watched the whole video, I watched exactly what transpired on the night and how it came to this.
“There are two things Anthony Milford has been terribly wronged: Number one is having these charges and the matter played out in public, and that he’s been charged with assault, which just didn’t happen… when you see it, it’s mind-boggling.”
Gus dishes some Milford truths: Six Tackles with Gus – Episode 8
Gould then detailed why the thing that irked him most was the handling of Milford’s botched contract at the Rabbitohs.
While the incident that landed Milford in court occurred in September, Gould claimed the contract with South Sydney was sent to the NRL to be registered on August 12, raising questions over why it wasn’t signed off before the police charges were levelled against him.
“The second thing is the situation of his contract status with South Sydney, and this bears thorough investigation. I don’t think it’s been investigated anywhere near enough,” Gould added.
“I’m not putting any blame on the NRL for this, but I think South Sydney has got a number of questions to answer about their contract situation with Anthony Milford because Anthony Milford’s contract has not been registered.
“Anthony Milford has had no payment, no money, living with his wife and children in a one-bedroom in his parents’ house in Brisbane since last year because he was facing these charges and South Sydney and the league would not register his contract.
“When in fact, the contract should’ve been registered when it was signed on the 31st of July last year.
“It was then sent by South Sydney to the league to be registered on the 12th of August – why there was a delay of 12 days, I don’t know.
“South Sydney was informed six days later on the 18th of August that there was a problem with the signing of the contract.
“This is a very common occurrence, contracts are often sent back… it’s a big document and sometimes some pages and some variations aren’t initialled but this was about the stat dec (statutory declaration).”
Gould added that during the COVID years of the NRL, statutory declarations often had to be attached to player contracts due to the fact that players and teams were in bubbles, making it difficult for contracts to be signed by all parties in the same place at the same time.
Michael Chammas with the latest on Anthony Milford’s situation
“This had nothing to do with the meat of the contract and an email went back to South Sydney to say, ‘we can’t register the contract, you need to fix up this stat dec’.
“The contract was signed properly, it was a problem with the stat dec.
“South Sydney was informed. The player and the contract manager weren’t informed that it hadn’t been registered on the 12th of August, six weeks before the incident which later became a police matter and charges were laid, which have since been dropped.”
Gould detailed how Milford had completely packed away his Queensland life for a move down to Sydney, convinced that the contract had been approved and registered with the NRL.
“In early November, Anthony Milford left his family home in Brisbane, they rented it out to a new tenant,” Gould said.
“He was relocated by the South Sydney club to Sydney. Flown down, his furniture brought down by removalists … they’ve acted upon the fact there’s going to be a contract here.
“The contract should’ve been registered in August, six weeks before the alleged incident.
“South Sydney acted upon the contract and relocated the player. Now they’re saying the league won’t register his contract because of the incident.
“I think there needs to be a fair bit of work on that timeline.”
In recent times, St George Illawarra’s Jack de Belin, Manly’s Dylan Walker and former Panther Tyrone May have fallen under the NRL’s no-fault stand down policy, which allows contracted players who are dealing with serious police charges to continue being paid despite being stood down from playing duties.
Gould said that system would’ve been the perfect situation for Milford, who now has financial problems to deal with having no NRL income to lean on.
“I’m not accusing South Sydney of anything, but I think this needs to be thoroughly investigated because had the contract been registered at the time – and there’s nothing wrong with the contract – had the contract been registered at the time, and Anthony Milford is charged with this offence, he could well have fallen under the no-fault stand-down policy,” Gould said.
“He would’ve been getting paid, as others have done. Anthony Milford has had no money coming in and this contract hasn’t been registered.
“The contract wasn’t registered because there was a fault in the signing of it, of the stat dec, which is a very common practice and needs to be resolved straight away. Why that wasn’t resolved at the time? No one knows, nor has anyone been asked to explain.
“They’re in one bedroom in his parents’ house. He’s had no money since that time and he’s obviously suffered a lot of stress and mental health issues.”
Wide World of Sports has contacted the Rabbitohs for comment.
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