Lifeline for Bulldog sacked over sex scandal
NRL may be on hold as the sporting world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic but the gossip never ends. PHIL ROTHFIELD brings you another edition of What's the Buzz.
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Knights skipper Mitchell Pearce is using the break from rugby league to offer youngsters footy tips on training and skills via social media. It's a wonderful fan-engagement idea and further proof the NSW Blues halfback has grown into an outstanding role model. Youngsters can contact Pearce on Instagram at mitchpearce_7 with their questions about any of the skills of rugby league.
There is one danger for the NRL if the premiership extends to the back-end of the year. It's called overkill. We're all for innovation but a best-of-three grand final series is a ridiculous concept. If there is more football to be played at the end of the season, surely a Kangaroos, Tonga and New Zealand Tri-series would have more appeal.
Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire, back in the heart of his old stamping ground of South Sydney at Maroubra Beach, walking with mates but carefully observing social-distancing laws.
South Sydney Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly trying to keep up with big Sammy Burgess in a power walk around Little Bay on Wednesday.
Top referee Grant Atkins working as a labourer for his brother's building company on a site in Lithgow. Two touch judges have also applied for shelf-stacking jobs at Woolworths.
In isolation with Matty Johns. Don't miss his latest podcast where Matt is joined by his wife Trish and his two rugby league-playing sons Cooper and Jack.
The great Gus Gould in his boat on Port Hacking, enjoying his first decent break from rugby league and his media commitments for more than 40 years.
The rumour will not go away about Channel 10's genuine interest in covering the NRL later this year. Channel 9's own journalists are reporting their network is "unenthused" about broadcasting the competition into October, November and possibly early December. Nine already has commitments to cover cricket's World Cup T20 and various tennis internationals. This would open the door for Channel 10, who have already discussed the opportunity at their highest level of management.
Which former NRL player is involved in a charity that raised $40,000 at a fundraiser last year but has yet to hand out any of the money. The charity has mysteriously disappeared off its Facebook page and those involved in the organisation are proving difficult to track down.
One NRL club is already making inquiries about the possibility of signing banned Canterbury Bulldogs forward Corey Harawira-Naera for 2021. His deregistration is likely to be lifted once he has served 12 months.
KALYN'S COFFEE BREAK
Footy stars are like the rest of us in this tough period of isolation, using FaceTime to stay in touch with loved ones. This is Knights superstar Kalyn Ponga with his mum. Ponga wrote on Instagram: 'Coffee dates with the goat in 2020. Weird times!'
The break from football in the UK Super League has been perfectly timed for Sonny Bill Williams, who needed minor knee surgery to clean out scar tissue before the hospitals in England became log-jammed with coronavirus patients.
The former NRL and All Blacks superstar is on a $10 million deal with Toronto Wolfpack and has so far been paid in full by the owner David Argyle. A decision is yet to be made by Super League clubs in the UK about pay cuts for the players.
There are many good NRL player agents out there who do a lot more than pocket their 6.5 per cent share of contracts.
Veteran manager Steve Gillis and former player Clinton Schifcofske have appointed their own welfare officer to support their league and union stars through these difficult times.
Jan Earl, a mental health care worker with more than 40 years' experience, will assist the players to deal with any wellbeing issues or financial pressure.
"We just want to put as much support around our players as possible," Gillis said. "It's extremely tough times for all and it's critical we all look out for each other."
VALE TONY BRANSON
Old St George Dragons fans are mourning the death of Tony Branson, a skilful five-eighth from the 1960s and 70s. From Nowra, Branson played in the Country Firsts side that beat City in 1967 and went on to play for NSW and Australia that year before moving to St George.
After retiring, he became a coach and director of Wentworthville Magpies.
Sadly, because of coronavirus and restrictions on funeral numbers, Branson will not get the send-off he deserves. He was 73.
YEARLING VIRTUAL SALE
Horse racing's Easter yearling sales will go ahead this week thanks to modern technology.
Usually at this time of the year Inglis's Riverside Stables complex at Warwick Farm would be overflowing with sports stars, Sheiks, celebrities and the world's racing elite as the southern hemisphere's best young horses go under the hammer.
In a world first, this year will be a virtual sale.
And with relations of Winx and Te Akau Shark up for grabs, expect furious bidding fireworks - albeit online. The sale will be run at inglis.com.au on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am.
Originally published as Lifeline for Bulldog sacked over sex scandal