Robert Dillon: Seven Days in League


I NOTE with interest a report that the Newcastle Knights will enjoy an end-of-season trip to Cairns this weekend, accompanied by a private security guard.

Apparently you can’t be too careful in this era of media grubs trying to exploit footballers by taking photos of them getting drunk and naked in inner-city pubs.

What really captures my attention is the security bloke’s price tag: $5000.

Five grand for a couple of days in the tropical north.

Compare that to the $22 an hour earned by some childcare educators, who have taken industrial action this week for the fourth time in 18 months in their fight for equal pay.

The moral of the story is that if you want to get into the child-minding caper, taking care of big babies is more lucrative than looking after little ones.


DRAGONS prop James Graham goes into his bat for his former Canterbury teammates, who are still in the doghouse after their much-publicised Mad Monday antics. 

Graham describes media coverage of the debacle as “just so cheap”.

“I’m not a fan of the outrage culture,” Graham proclaims. “I’m not a fan of the telescopic lenses. I'm not a fan of some of the cheap media that has been around it.”

I’m sure the Doggies appreciate his moral support.

Unfortunately the police aren’t fans of blokes dancing starkers in pubs to the tune of Sweet Caroline and charge Adam Elliott and Asipeli Fine with wilful and obscene exposure.


BARRY Toohey reveals in his weekly column that Knights coach Nathan Brown is heading across the ditch to spend a week in camp with the All Blacks.

It sounds like a cunning ploy to me. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Newcastle’s gift from the gods, Kalyn Ponga, admitted maybe one day he would consider switching codes and having a crack at becoming an All Black.

Hopefully Browny can get in the ear of New Zealand coach Steve Hansen and convince him that KP is overrated, egotistical, a lazy trainer and carrying a degenerative career-threatening injury … ie, steer clear.

At Allianz Stadium, the Sharks and Roosters are deadlocked at 6-all after 35 minutes when Gus Gould offers a cutting-edge insight on Channel Nine.

“There’s nothing in this, is there,” Gus says, reminding us all why he is on the big bucks.


POOR old Korbin Sims. You’d imagine that, as the youngest of three brothers, he copped his fair share of pizzlings in the backyard at Gerringong.

Today is his chance to get square with elder sibling Tariq.

Instead the St George Illawarra back-rower transforms into the Incredible Hulk to score three first-half tries, including one when he runs straight over little Korbin.

Tariq has possibly claimed bragging rights forever and a day, given that this is Korbin’s last game for Brisbane and he will be teaming up with big bro at the Dragons next year.

The only person at Suncorp looking gloomier than Korbin is the Old Fox of the North.

Not only have his Broncos been lapped 48-18, but Benny finds himself under siege at the post-match press conference, after being asked to explain Andrew Gee’s guest appearance in the coach’s box.

GO AHEAD PUNK, MAKE MY DAY: The Old Fox of the North dares media hacks to ask him another question about Andrew Gee. Picture: AAP

GO AHEAD PUNK, MAKE MY DAY: The Old Fox of the North dares media hacks to ask him another question about Andrew Gee. Picture: AAP

Gee, Brisbane’s former football manager, was effectively banned by the NRL a few years ago after vanishing into thin air when the Broncos underwent a salary-cap explanation.

“He’s a friend of mine and can come sit in the box with me any time he wants,” the Old Fox argues.

“I haven’t told the NRL who I bring to the game. He’s not a criminal.”

It’s a fair point. Hopefully Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan takes note and invites Steven Dank along to their next game.


I AM alarmed to read that television ratings for the NRL season have eclipsed the AFL’s audiences for the first time since 2010.

The powers-that-be will no doubt be celebrating this as a major triumph.

From my usual #talkthegamedown perspective, I’d argue every fan camped on a sofa is one fewer bum on a stadium seat. 




IN an emotional interview in which he comes close to tears, Josh Dugan accuses the media of picking on him because he’s “an easy target”.

Despite claiming “I don’t watch the news, don’t read the paper, I’m very rarely on social media”, Duges declares: “When is there positive stories? I feel like negativity sells papers.”

I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. What sells papers is footballers covered in neck tattoos getting full of grog and carrying on like pork chops.

Duges has been an absolute stalwart when it comes to upholding this tradition. On behalf of rugby league journalists and the readers who buy our publications, I’d like to thank him sincerely and propose a toast in his honour, with Bacardi Breezers.


CRONULLA back-rower Kurt Capewell is a runaway favourite to receive the Dally M award for most gruesome injury. Capewell suffered a ruptured testicle in the Sharks’ last-round win against Canterbury but is back in training despite receiving internal stitches.

“I caught the leg of [Canterbury halfback] Matt Frawley, who was making a tackle on me, and it took out my middle stump,’’ Capewell said. “I got home on Sunday night and they were four times the size they usually are … I went straight in for surgery.”

As my former sports editor, Kevin Cranson, occasionally observed, it takes approximately 50 kilograms of force to rupture a testicle.