Penrith boss Phil Gould is adamant embattled skipper Matt Moylan will remain at the club long-term despite being granted indefinite leave to deal with personal issues.
The Panthers’ premiership push was rocked on Monday by news their star five-eighth will likely miss the entire finals series as he seeks professional help.
“Certainly he needs some professional help and our doctor alerted us to that in recent weeks. It’s not anything serious, or at least we hope it’s not,” Gould said on Monday.
“But we’re not the professionals. We’d like to get professional help to give him some guidance.”
However Gould alleviated concerns the 26-year-old had fallen out with coach Anthony Griffin and was set to join another club.
It was reported a number of rival teams were on the hunt for the former NSW star.
“Right from the first words that came out of his mouth today, Matt was 100 per cent committed to the club,” Gould said.
“He loves the club, loves the Panthers, and wants to be here for the rest of his career. We signed him for five years only 12 months ago and we certainly want that to be the case.”
Phil Gould speaks to the media about Matt Moylan 🎥
— Penrith Panthers (@PenrithPanthers) September 4, 2017
Asked to guarantee whether Moylan would be a Panther in 2018, Gould said: “I’m certain.
“I just want him to sort through these issues, get away from the pressure of football for a moment, reflect on why he is a professional footballer and what goes with that.
“And he was quite receptive to all that. In fact at the end, probably quite relieved.”
Gould rubbished suggestions that Moylan struggled with substance abuse such as alcohol, but admitted the local junior had shown signs of a poor attitude this season.
It was believed the club had grown frustrated with his rehabilitation of a hamstring injury that had troubled him over the second half of the season, sidelining him for their final two games.
Gould said Moylan has also struggled with the weight of the captaincy.
“The easy assumption is to say that there’s been some sort of substance abuse, drugs or alcohol, or living some sort of private life, but it’s none of that at all,” he said.
“I think this is just more the stress that Matt puts on himself through expectation and through the role that he plays at this club as the leader. He’s still a young man.
“It’s probably not one incident in particular. It’s nothing major.
“But when you pile them all together, a lot of little things that we’ve noticed around the place over the last month or so, it’s totally out of character for Matt.”
Gould also left the door open for Moylan to return during the finals.
“We’ll be guided by the counsellor on that. Sometimes these things only take a few days, sometimes it can take a long time,” he said.