I contacted Anasta for his thoughts and, while he admitted that Munster was not happy, he declined to comment further. The Queensland premier office did not return calls, while Fox Sports boss Steve Crawley declined to comment. Munster is friends with Palaszczuk, who has called to wish him luck in the past before Origin games. He also appears on her social media accounts.
The Roosters are far too professional to go head-hunting when they play their revenge match against Latrell Mitchell and the Rabbitohs on Friday, but don’t think for a moment their anger has dissipated during the summer.
Roosters officials have chipped me in recent weeks for “defending” Mitchell for his role in the ugly incident in round 24 last year – where Roosters star Joey Manu suffered a fractured cheek and missed the remainder of the season and Mitchell was suspended for six weeks – when all we were actually doing was presenting his side of the story.
It’s a flashpoint, and the Roosters believe Mitchell has been trying to position himself as “the victim”. They say they see Manu every day and see his face that is still numb and has plates in it.
The edge is there despite Mitchell having a good relationship with a number of Roosters players and coach Trent Robinson, who nurtured him in his development years as a footballer. The pair still speak but they won’t be exchanging many pleasantries this week.
When I spoke with Manu he said he had not seen Mitchell in person since the incident but was looking forward to catching up on game night. Mitchell said the same and that the pair remain mates.
Something about Mary
The move against Tariq Sims at the Dragons is being sold as one that relates to his future, but the truth is it probably lies in his past.
There has been a picture painted that Sims is greedy; that he is on $ 800,000 a year; that he demanded that kind of money when he met with the club to discuss an extension last year.
Let’s set the record straight: Sims is on $ 630,000. It was an amount the Dragons offered him. He would have signed for $ 100,000 less, but that’s what he was offered. He didn’t even get the chance to discuss money when he joined the club for an extension last year.
As first reported on Channel Nine news, Sims was told he had no future at the Dragons. Instead, he is going to join the Storm for $ 250,000 next year. That’s a considerable pay cut but one he is willing to take to keep playing football and to potentially win a title.
He’s toured their facilities, talked at length with key Storm people and has liked what he has seen. Some at the Dragons are trying to tell me that he has had more conversations with Storm coach Craig Bellamy than St George Illawarra’s Anthony Griffin in recent times.
Sims is very close with former Dragons coach Paul McGregor. He was coached by the man known affectionately as “Mary” for many years. They socialize together and are good friends.
When Blues coach Brad Fittler was considering Sims last year, he called McGregor to get his opinion on how Sims was going. He gave him a big rap, and Sims lived up to that, producing a stellar series as NSW regained the trophy, winning 2-1.
Sims is highly motivated to go out on a high with the Dragons if he can. Melbourne want him now and have a spot free, but it could all hinge on Tui Kamikamica‘s court case.
Our item last week about the Eels falling to No.3 in the NRL in junior playing numbers has led to some serious issues being raised.
“I call the Parramatta juniors the field of broken dreams,” said Allan McGowan, who has been secretary at Wentworthville for 26 years. ‘There are many big issues in the area, but right at the top is the right kids are not getting picked up in the rep teams … and the reason for that is if you don’t have the right agent or agents you don’ t get a look-in.
“We can see who the best players in the district are and the questions are asked all around the place about why this player didn’t get picked. It comes down to who is representing you. Great kids are leaving the area. An example is Cayne Nicholas, man of the match in our grand final two years ago. Couldn’t get a start at Parra. He’s now the Wests Tigers’ SG Ball skipper. It’s never ending.
“McGowan says a broader issue is funding and a lack of star players spending time at junior clubs.
“The AFL clubs will flood our kids with star players doing clinics and 300 kids will be given a football and other things,” McGowan said. “We can’t get that from league people. The funding is not reaching the junior teams here. Clubs in the area will be left to die. ”
And there’s another concern. “It’s the mindset that exists in the district that filters down from the senior club … that players need to be playing up a year or two to toughen them up,” McGowan said. “League is a tough enough game … we don’t need to break our kids and make them walk away from the game.”
The Cleal deal
Manly recruitment manager Noel Cleal took exception to our piece last week where then Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib questioned his performance when he was in the same role at the Bulldogs. We said the comments raised questions about his position at Manly. Cleal sent a polite message.
“Hi, Danny, it’s Crusher,” he wrote. “Read your column in today’s paper and would like to clarify a few things. Firstly, you quoted Ray Dib stating that I failed to recruit any first-graders at the Dogs. Here is a list of players I signed: Damien Cook, Shaun Lane, Reed Mahoney, Morgan Harper, Bailey Simonsson, Reimis Smith, Brenko Lee, Corey Thompson, Marcelo Montoya, Makahesi Makatoa, Tommy Talau, Brad Abbey and Adam Keighran. Plus I played a role in the development of Moses Mbye, Josh Jackson, David Klemmer and Dale Finucane.
“Secondly, at Manly we have a recruitment committee consisting of Des [Hasler], Scott [Fulton] and myself. We agree on a player and it’s Scott’s role to then sign them. Not sure of your agenda mate. ”
No agenda, just voicing a few concerns expressed to me by people at the Eagles. And as far as we know, Andrew Davey is the big signing Cleal has made in Manly’s top 30.
Stan Sport’s first foray into pay-per-view boxing has an all-star cast. Anthony Mundine, Danny Green and George Kambosos will be the expert commentators for the much-anticipated Barry Hall v Sonny Bill Williams bout, but this time Mundine and Green will be in different roles.
“Greeny will play the part of Barry and Choc will be Sonny,” he said Glenn Pallisterthe executive producer of the fight night and former boss of The Footy Show. “They will talk us through and show us how each fighter must fight to win.”
Hall and SBW will go head-to-head on Wednesday with the Stan Sport telecast starting at 6pm.
Madge’s cafe date
Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire and Rabbitohs great Sam Burgess were spotted at a Little Bay cafe on Friday. The pair were deep in conversation, but we aren’t about to see Burgess working at the Tigers. They won a title together, in 2014 when the Bunnies ended their 43-year drought, and remain good mates. It was just a catch-up as both have been through testing times for different reasons over the past two years.
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