IT'S been a gradual evolutionary process.
From the Immortal Johnny Raper strolling the snow-clad streets of England wearing nothing but a bowler hat and a silly grin, to Julian O'Neill taking a poo in Schlossy's shoe, through to Todd Carney drinking his own home-brew ... eventually we arrive at the modern-day rugby league player.
A strangely dysfunctional, inappropriate creature who has apparently spent the entire summer, to borrow a line from a certain post-match press conference, thinking with his little head.
It started with a Bulldogs player selecting Sweet Caroline on the jukebox during their Mad Monday drinks.
Then came "big Papi" Napa's ill-fated home movies, and the formerly little-known Panther Tyrone May forging a reputation that has nothing to do with his on-field prowess.
Not to mention those facing the prospect of an enforced holiday in the big house.
We've read almost on a daily basis about players being heavily fined, and stood down, and "no-fault" policies, and Peter Beattie being really cross, and blah blah blah.
None of which, of course, is likely to make a smidgen of difference. There is only one guaranteed solution - just geld them.
Not all of them, of course.
Not every racehorse needs a gear change.
Some enjoy long, prosperous racing careers before living out their retirement days as stud stallions. But then there are the frisky colts who just can't keep their minds on the job and pay the ultimate price.
It's not rocket science. Simply get the cheergirls to practise their routines while the footy players train, and anyone whose concentration wavers gets booked in to see the vet.
Problem solved. Play on.
KNIGHTS coach Nathan Brown shrugs off his team's 30-6 loss to Cronulla in their last pre-season hit-out.
"Trials are trials," Browny says. "Winx doesn't win her barrier trials."
It's a fair point, although it would probably carry more weight if the Knights had won 31 competition games in a row.
Browny uses the analogy during an interview with Laurie Daley on the Big Sports Breakfast radio show, which is holding a live broadcast from Newcastle racecourse.
Funny story about Lozza.
Barely 12 hours earlier the Newcastle Herald are taking photos of Knights forwards David Klemmer and Lachlan Fitzgibbon at Honeysuckle, when a group of about 10 blokes stroll past.
One of them is L.Daley, under whom big Klemm made his NSW debut in 2015. The chance meeting/Blues reunion is captured for posterity by Herald snapper Marina Neil.
I note with interest quotes from Cameron Smith at the NRL season launch, when he declares the Storm should have their 2007 and 2009 premierships reinstated, given the recent salary cap dramas involving Cronulla.
"This is almost like a similar crime with a completely different punishment," Smith says. "What happened to us was fairly harsh, we haven’t seen anything like it since."
Hmmm. It's a bit like Lance Armstrong whinging that he was no worse than his opponents. Next Smithy will be trying to tell us the Storm didn't invent the grapple tackle.
SHARKS skipper Paul Gallen takes umbrage at Smith's comments, declaring Cronulla's rorting of the salary cap was an innocent book-keeping miscalculation.
Gallen responds to suggestions the Sharks should be stripped of their 2016 premiership by saying: "If we got it taken off us, I would throw my ring away and I would quit the club immediately."
Promises, promises. Any chance of it happening before round one?
Anyway, there is clearly only one surefire way to resolve the Gallen-Smith feud. Smithy can be Gal's next opponent in the boxing ring.
That should be a fair contest.
KNIGHTS fans panic after news breaks on Twitter that "Nathan Brown has left the club by mutual consent".
Fortunately it's not Newcastle's NRL coach. Nor is it the Parramatta lock, or even the former Western Bulldogs and Richmond AFL player.
It's Nathan Brown, a Pommy soccer player who has parted company with Chester FC in the National League North (whatever that is) in the hope of getting "regular football" elsewhere.
Brown's departure is overshadowed by a disgraceful incident in which a Birmingham City fan runs onto the field and throws a punch at an Aston Villa player.
It's an absolute shocker, but I still reckon the benchmark for pitch-invading weirdos is Newcastle's own Peter Hoare, who once delayed the kick-off to a Knights v Parramatta game when he rode a tricycle onto the ground, while carrying two black kittens.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
RETIRED Melbourne Storm champion Billy Slater is immortalised by having one of the grandstands at AAMI Park named in his honour.
Rumours that the 2018 State of Origin player of the series will also have stands named after him at ANZ Stadium, Shark Park and Brookvale remain unconfirmed.
Meanwhile, Parramatta announce they have stood down forward Peni Terepo for allegedly being tired and emotional on a flight from Tonga to Auckland, where two police officers escorted him off the plane. A Peni for your thoughts, Eels fans?
A rugby league off-season that will linger long in the memory has apparently come circle, as I notice Dylan Napa's name back in the headlines. "Big Papi" has reportedly confronted hecklers in a pub, demanding they delete iPhone videos taken without his consent.
Sounds like he's suddenly become a tad camera-shy.
Perhaps the threat of the unkindest cut of all is already having the desired effect.