Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould offered more details on how this photo of Viliame Kikau in his new club shirt has been revealed, despite his contract for another season with the Penrith Panthers.
Kikau will join the Bulldogs on a big deal in 2023, and the photo of him in a Canterbury shirt infuriated Penrith’s hierarchy, as well as some fans – with the backrower receiving a handful of boos during the club’s final grand parade in November.
Gould later apologized to the Panthers for the incident, which he previously explained was the result of a Canterbury Leagues Club employee who had access to CCTV footage.
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On Monday, he expanded on that.
“He was a rogue security guard,” Gould said on Nine’s 100% football.
“We took pictures of him in the shirt because he was going to the World Cup at the end of the year and we probably wouldn’t see him until January and we needed something promotional.”
Gould said he was reluctantly dragged into the photo shoot, but had no idea it would be made public.
“Thirty [coach Trent Barrett] wanted a picture with him, then they asked me to come in the picture.
“When I went up to see where the camera was, I said ‘who has access to this? And it turned out to be a fan, who happened to be a Panther fan.
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“He didn’t leak it – he sent it to another guy who was a Panther fan, and he leaked it.”
The employee was subsequently fired by the Leagues club – with Gould emphatically saying the photo could have been safely stored for future use had it not been for the leak.
“It was in a remote part of the club, closed off, with curtains around the meeting room door,” he said.
“Nobody knew he was in the building.”
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