Former South Sydney Rabbitohs star Sam Burgess says rehab has changed his life


There was no deal

In one of his final acts as a free man, Jarryd Hayne blamed the media for losing what he claimed was a $500,000 deal with the Dragons for the 2019 NRL season. On so many levels, this said it all.

I checked with people at the Dragons who had intimate knowledge of the Hayne negotiations. There was no contract about to be signed, as Hayne claimed. There had been internal discussions about signing him, but it had not reached the stage of a contract being drawn up. It didn’t even get close to that.

Daniel Son, Jarryd Hayne and Corey Norman. Credit:Instagram

Hayne was an option for the Dragons, but if he thought a contract was waiting, he was very wrong. Instead the club signed Corey Norman, who was one of the last players to see Hayne before he was sentenced at Newcastle District Court on Thursday to five years and nine months in prison. Hayne was found guilty in March of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent. The former league star has lodged an appeal.

A picture of Norman with Hayne was posted on Instagram (pictured above). It is hard to understand why Norman would pose with Hayne days before he was jailed. Supporting a friend is one thing, but why post it?

Norman’s club has been torn apart by Jack de Belin’s court case. It played a big part in the demise of former coach Paul McGregor. It also led to others resigning from their positions. The Dragons have reprimanded Norman for posting the picture. Posing with Hayne was a dumb thing to do for a bloke who is off contract and looking for a new deal.

Talk of the town

There was an interesting catch-up after the Storm-Sharks match last Friday night in Melbourne. Cronulla chief executive Dino Mezzatesta and Storm coach Craig Bellamy were seen in deep conversation. The Sharks, of course, are very interested in securing the services of Bellamy in an overseeing football manager role.

With anger still swirling in the Shire about the axing of former coach John Morris, the club needs a big signing. South Sydney’s Adam Reynolds is likely to make up his mind early this week about whether he will take up an offer from Cronulla or Brisbane. The Broncos’ three-year offer still has appeal.

Sharks star Toby Rudolf, also off contract, has met with incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon but, like any quality player, wants to know who the halfback will be.

Credit:Facebook

Tigers don’t buy it

The bosses of Wests Ashfield love the passion of Tigers great Benny Elias. They respect everything he did for Balmain. It is the only reason they met with him on Tuesday to discuss a proposal to buy Wests Tigers. They have no intention of selling to Elias or anyone else.

When it comes to the Tigers, internal drama is never far away. Recently removed board member Mick Liubinskas has maintained a dignified silence on what happened. However, this Facebook post gives a fair insight into what he is thinking.

“This is what you get when politics in football clubs kicks in,” he wrote alongside the picture above.

Josh spice

The situation Josh Hodgson finds himself in at the Raiders is interesting. While he has not been able to recapture the form he showed when the Raiders made the grand final in 2019, the issues go a lot deeper. There have been reports of some harsh talks with coach Ricky Stuart.

When Hodgson was injured last year and watching from the sidelines, there was a lot of praise for replacements Tom Starling and Siliva Havili. The theme was how well the Raiders attack was functioning and how well halves George Williams and Jack Wighton were playing. I have been told that Hodgson was miffed that the playmakers were not publicly vocal about missing playing with him. When Stuart talked to Hodgson, he discussed getting the ball to the halves more quickly.

Roosters hierarchy go extra mile for Suaalii

Joseph Suaalii has a two-year deal at the Roosters with options in his favour for another two seasons. But during the past week there were two acts – one public and one private – that show how invested the club is in its teen superstar.

On Thursday, in pouring rain, Roosters heavyweights – chairman Nick Politis and board members Mark Fennessy, Peter Newton and Andrew Crawford – travelled to Penrith to see what the Suaalii family does for the charity group ReachOut NSW. They saw people arrive from all parts of Sydney and as far away as Wollongong to be fed by the charity, with the Suaalii family leading the way.

The Roosters bosses were blown away. They were not aware of this side of their star recruit.
For a family that has been through a lot in recent times, with their son in the public eye day after day, it would have meant something to the Suaalii family that Politis used the morning to learn about their charity – and their family.

Politis was genuinely touched and emotional when he recounted the experience to his confidantes.
Then there were the scenes in the dressing room last Saturday night after the win over the Knights that was marred by the loss of Brett Morris and Lindsay Collins to season-ending – and potentially career-ending – knee injuries. Suaalii sat beside the Morris twins in the dressing room. He saw what a rugby league career meant to a great of the game – someone twice his age – and he saw what it meant to Morris to be part of the club.

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For a teenager who wanted to keep his options open, it would be hard not to see that as a defining moment for a young man learning about his place in professional sport. If and when it comes to signing a new deal, the events of the past week are sure to be etched in his mind.

Unwelcome Matt

Broncos front-rower Matt Lodge could be forced out of Brisbane and he has been trying to generate some interest from the Roosters. But the tricolours haven’t forgotten something that happened a few years back.

The Roosters were prepared to provide Lodge a path back to the big time, but it had to be via Wyong, the Roosters’ feeder team at the time. Lodge didn’t like that idea one bit, so instead he went to Brisbane after telling the Roosters coaching staff he didn’t want to drive from western Sydney to Wyong each day. The Roosters have not forgotten that.

It’s hard to imagine him fitting into the culture created by tricolours coach Trent Robinson. The fact that Brisbane are willing to stump up $1 million to see him play somewhere else says a lot.

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