Seven Days in League with Robert Dillon

Thursday

FOR a bloke who would clearly prefer to keep a low profile, Eddie Hayson has a funny way of avoiding media attention.

Tired of being linked to NRL match-fixing allegations, the former brothel owner/ “colourful gambling identity” calls a press conference, at which he faces a barrage of questions for roughly an hour.

At one point during the interrogation, Fast Eddie confirms he once borrowed $1 million from former Knights and Raiders prop Luke Davico, which he says has since been repaid in full.

The man they call “Statue” was a handy player back in the day but not exactly a top-dollar superstar.

After retiring in 2007, he bought popular Darby Street cafe Goldbergs, which should perhaps be renamed Gold Mine.

 A million bucks? Wow. That’s a lot of cappucinos.

Friday

COWS coach Paul Green puts all his eggs in one basket by promoting rookie Kalyn Ponga for his NRL debut in the do-or-die play-off against Brisbane.

Ponga’s main claim to fame is that, along with Jason Taumalolo and three other NQ players, a week ago he was arrested for a much-publicised incident in which cars were splattered by flying projectiles created by hens.

The yolk, however, is on Brisbane as the young fella and Taumalolo rule the roost in the home team’s thrilling extra-time win.

It’s a result that leaves Seven Days with mixed emotions. Last week I had a lobster on the Broncos to win the comp at $7.50, so my hip pocket was cheering for the visitors.

But come full-time, the knowledge that my investment proved an insurmountable handicap for the master coach brings a smile to my face. It’s probably the best 20 bucks I ever spent.

Saturday

Super coach Bennett once gave an insight into his opinion of the media, which he described as “a beast, an absolute beast”.

Today the beast is banging on about a “beauty”. In particular, a blonde 50-year-old receptionist Bennett reportedly met during his time in Newcastle and to whom he has since become somewhat attached.

 All of which surfaces after Benny releases a statement, advising that he has separated from his wife after 42 years of marriage.

It’s hard to imagine he is in a good mood when the Broncos arrive at Brisbane airport and one of those TV reporter types is in his face, hammering him with inane questions he clearly has no intention of answering.

It’s a situation crying out the great man’s best Clint Eastwood impersonation: “Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk? Go ahead, make my day.’’

Instead the emperor of the Banana Republic keeps walking, looking straight ahead. But the smoke coming out of his ears is probably the best indication he’s not best pleased.

In the Saturday night semi, the Raiders receive their now-traditional round of applause before the game has even kicked off, which they then justify with a 22-12 win against Penrith.

Sunday

In an era when so many players are content to be cardboard cut-outs, Knights winger Nathan Ross is a breath of fresh air.

Today the Rossdog asks his followers on Twitter: “I wanna buy 3 chickens in the Newcastle region. Can any one recommend the best domestic chickens and what age should I purchase them at?’’

Here’s hoping he soon has some feathered friends, laying like clockwork.

Mind you, it might pay to lock the coop next time North Queensland Cowboys are in town.

Monday

Seven Days’ mate the builder/budding photographer poses an intriguing question.

He chances upon one of those retro games on Foxtel, featuring Canberra and Brisbane back in their early-1990s heyday, and is bemused to notice players from both teams are covered in mud.

“Whatever happened to mud?’’ he asks.

It’s a good point. Players these days will be drenched to the bone in teeming rain, but there is scarcely a stain to be seen on their playing strips.

I find myself yearning for a traditional quagmire, in which players finish the game looking like they’ve been swimming in a septic tank.

Sadly, it’s further evidence that the good old days are long gone.

Tuesday

Outlandish reports surface that Titans veteran – and No.1 Knights target Greg Bird – may have been involved in an off-field indiscretion.

As if. It must surely be a case of mistaken identity.

Meanwhile, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart ramps up the mind games when he tells his players at the club’s presentation night: “We’re going to win next week and then we’re going to win the grand final.’’

Sticky insists: “We have the team to win the grand final. I told the players three months ago we can win the grand final. That is what I think can happen. We are now just two games from achieving that.”

It’s a slight change in tack from Sticky, who just a few weeks ago told the media before his team played the Sharks: “If we can get within three to four tries of Cronulla next week that's a huge improvement.

“They dusted us up last time and bashed us around by 40 or 50 points.

“As I said if we can keep within those points I think there's improvement there in us."

Seems as if the Stickman has tossed away the underdog card. What’s that old saying about the early crow?

Wednesday

SEPARATED AT BIRTH: If Clint Eastwood and Wayne Bennett traded places for a week, would anyone notice?

SEPARATED AT BIRTH: If Clint Eastwood and Wayne Bennett traded places for a week, would anyone notice?

A great week for freedom of speech continuines when Jason Taumalolo labels Michael Ennis “a pest”.

Asked if Ennis is his most irritating opponent, Taumalolo replies: "I think he would be up there … I speak for most of the NRL that Mick is definitely up there as one of the most annoying players in the comp."

Maybe so, but at least he doesn’t throw eggs at passing cars.

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