Saturday , June 19 2021

Eels star’s big contract call arrives

It’s almost D-Day for Parramatta’s ball-playing forward Ryan Matterson.

Matterson has an option his way with the Eels for 2022 – but it has a Round 12 deadline.

That gives the lanky forward just a few days to decide whether to remain with the Eels, or take up a more lucrative offer from a rival club.

Matterson’s career move to the Eels has been a good one after a mixed stint at the Tigers and he is now firmly established as one of the game’s premier edge forwards.

His dilemma is to risk that status with a shift to a less successful club than the Eels for a fistful of dollars.

My mail is he will stay – but that could change if the figures being thrown at him become too big to say no.

OUTCAST FORMER TEST STAR IN COURT

It’s been a tough few months for former Kangaroos and State of Origin centre Michael Jennings.

Embroiled in a drugs scandal with Sports Integrity Australia and then sacked by the Eels, Jennings’ career appears all but over.

But it doesn’t end there.

Jennings is in civil court today, fighting a legal battle against his ex-wife Kirra Wilden.

The case at the Sydney District Court is believed to be over a property dispute and has the potential to cost Jennings a big slice of his substantial 14-year career earnings if he loses.

NRL COACH’S MAGIC ROUND HOTEL TANTRUM

The NRL are fully aware of an incident in which a head coach behaved extremely badly in Magic Round in Brisbane – but have chosen to sweep the incident under the carpet.

The coach in question threw a tantrum at the five-star hotel his team was staying at, abusing restaurant staff and slamming a table complaining about the quality of the food and service.

Both his players and hotel employees were embarrassed by the coach’s outburst – and it’s not the first time this bloke with anger management issues has acted poorly in the public eye.

NRL officials aren’t happy with his antics, believing they cast the game in a bad light and send a shocking message to his young players.

But because the hotel staff were ordered not to take the matter further by management – and no complaint was officially lodged with the NRL Integrity Unit – the matter has been put to bed.

RTS’ CLASSY MOVE WITH BOOM ROOKIE

There were fears in New Zealand that Nathan Brown’s decision to bring boom rookie Reece Walsh into his team at fullback last weekend – moving the great Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to the wing – would create a rift in the Kiwi camp.

But in fact, it was the exact opposite.

Brown was unsure what to do with Walsh, who had been dynamic coming on from the bench in previous games.

But it was Tuivasa-Sheck who told his coach that the teenager had to start – and that he should have a run at the fullback spot with an eye to the future.

It’s now history that the move was a stroke of genius, with 18-year-old Walsh creating three tries and scoring another to lead the Warriors to a hard-fought win over the Tigers.

But more than anything, it showed the type of selfless team man RTS is – and why he will be sorely missed when he switches to rugby union in 2022.

THE DAY BOZO’S STOOGE WAS CHUCKED IN THE CLINK

There are many great untold Bob Fulton stories down the years – and this is one of the best.

When he took up coaching with Easts in the late 1970s, ‘Bozo’ – who would do anything to get the edge – hired a loud-mouth fan for a special secret mission.

The man’s lone job was to stand in the tunnel of the old Sydney Sports Ground at halftime, and yell abuse at the referee… intimidating statements like “Ref, why don’t you give the Roosters a fair go? You’re killing them”.

This went on for several years – and invariably the referee gave Fulton’s Chooks a better time of it in the second half, having been rocked by the verbal barrage.

But one day Bozo’s man went to far. He did his usual trick, abusing the referee … however his words were so strong that he was grabbed by two passing policemen and bundled into a paddywagon and tossed in a cell in nearby Paddington Police Station.

It took several hours for Fulton to find out what happened to his stooge – and once he did, he made the trip from Easts Leagues Club to the cop shop.

Bozo, who could schmooze anyone with his wit and charm, explained that the bloke in cell three was a mate who was a little unstable and got a little over-zealous at times at the footy.

A few autographs and Kodak photos later, the pair walked out of the station – with nothing more than a warning.

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