Craig Gower Rugby Affair

Is it any wonder Craig Gower is leaving Penrith for the seclusion of French Rugby?

The comments I’ve seen about Craig Gower in the last 24 hours have been outrageous. The extremely talented and durable Gower has given his heart and soul for the Penrith club for over a decade and the decision to move on was totally amicable. With the Penrith Panthers regularly hinting that they would be happy if Gower wanted to get out of his extended contract earlier than planned.

Sure, Craig Gower hasn’t been setting the football field on fire of late, but neither has the Penrith forwards, or many Penrith players at all for that matter.

So often is the case when the Panthers struggle, the high profile Gower cops all the flak. What about Matt Elliott? The new coach, bringing new ideas and the change of style that may have affected Penrith so much? He’s received a little bit of press, but for the war torn Gower he’s been the face of Penrith’s pain for the last few years.

Amazingly, everyone seems to have forgotten that Gower won the Panthers a premiership in 2003! Just 4 short years ago, but media and local supporters alike are ready to tear him to shreads already. Tell this to supporters from Cronulla or New Zealand, who have never ever won the premiership. Ever.

Take for example the Daily Telegraph. The Tele approached Gower for a story yesterday on his departure; Gower refused the interview because the Telegraph has hammered him in the past and treated him unfairly. Gowers comments to Tele reporter Dean Ritchie were “Its nothing personal, but the time has come. Enough if Enough. You’ve Hammered me!” Gower stated.

This was probably a bad move for Craig; as the Daily Telegraph has simply waged war on him in this mornings newspaper (Wednesday June 27). Headed by a full back page tirade.

The Tele didn’t stop there, they also published all the negative reader comments they could dig up on Gower. Publishing 5 comments that absolutely slammed Gower, all by persons with no full name listed. How professional.

The Tele kept going, they also got Ray Hadlee to comment on the saga. Firing up Bolts is always sure to get some shock jock action. So the Tele ran with negative comments from Bolts Hadley. And published links to Hadlees Rugby League Radio show where Gower has recently commented.

And people still wonder why Craig Gower left? It’s an absolutely severe case of Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Sure, Gower is no angel and he has had bad headlines in the past. Craig Gower hasn’t killed anyone. He makes mistakes like the rest of us.

It is such a shame that a talented NRL player can be driven out of the game by club supporters and media pressure.

Don’t slam Gower for walking away, the man has been pushed to absolute breaking point. And has plenty of reasons to get out of the country.

Penrith and Gower probably should agree to sever ties now however. Gower admirably does not want to leave him teammates in the lurch, but for club and player – the best situation is to shake hands now and move on.

To those that continue to burn the former Australian, State and Club captain, I’m sure Craig Gower will be having the last laugh as he suns himself on the French / Spain border. Where the Daily Telegraph and Ray Hadlee will be the furtherest things from his mind.

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