Saint, Sinner, Shoosh: NRL’s $200 million man
The Rabbitohs refuse to give up hope of keeping local favourite Alex Johnston in a South Sydney jersey beyond this season.
The club is having second thoughts because of an angry backlash from members and have decided to keep a place open for the winger/fullback on their 2021 roster.
Souths have defended their decision to tell Johnston early they might not have room in the salary cap.
They wanted to give him time in advance to talk to other clubs and look at other options before rivals had spent their money. However, there is now serious talk of him staying.
Souths will have to move quickly before several clubs are talking to his manager, Steve Gillis.
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PEARCE TO EXTEND
The Newcastle Knights are trying to lock down inspirational skipper Mitchell Pearce before the end of the season for what will most probably be the final contract of his career.
Pearce is 31 and 14 games shy of his 300th game. All going well, he will be the second-youngest player to reach the milestone, behind Cameron Smith.
Sony Music boss Dennis Handlin is now looking after the Blues Origin halfback.
Pearce is under contract at Newcastle until the end of next season but wants to extend until the end of 2023.
Knights supremo Phil Gardner, who did the multimillion-dollar Kalyn Ponga deal, is determined to make it happen.
"The contribution that Mitchell has made to the club cannot be understated," Gardner told us.
"He put his trust in us to deliver on our promise to build a competitive club and the change of the Knights becoming a top four club is no small part due to the contribution of Mitch.
"We are very keen for him to be part of this club going forward. He is our captain, whose leadership qualities have grown enormously.
"We expect to have his future sorted before the end of the year."
Pearce is on $800,000, according to the 100 Rich list, but gets more in third party deals.
$200 MILLION MAN
There have been some wonderful success stories in rugby league with footballers making the transition from the playing field to business world.
Sean Garlick became a multi-millionaire from Garlos Pies. Lou Zivanovic has made squillions out of the building game. Old Newtown Jets prop Steve Bowden owns big pubs across the state.
The latest is former Newcastle Knights winger Adam MacDougall - with his The Man Shake and The Lady Shake businesses now valued at around $200 million.
It is a remarkable story in that MacDougall sold most of his assets seven years ago to start from scratch.
He and wife Belinda have just landed a deal in which their products will be stocked in more than 850 Woolworths stores across the country.
The product was already stocked in Coles stores and in all Terry White and Blooms chemists
These deals are dwarfed by the online strength of the business which flourished during COVID-19.
MacDougall is one of the good guys. He is a huge supporter of the Mark Hughes Foundation and once jumped in to sponsor the Knights with much-needed funds when the club was struggling.
Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly read our piece last week on the passing of South Sydney fan Tim Kirkby. A Freshwater board paddler, Tim had bravely fought cancer on and off for almost 10 years but lost his battle and left behind a beautiful wife and one-year-old baby. He was 28.
Solly has offered to help out the family in any way he can, including providing signed merchandise for fundraisers, promoting his GoFundMe page on the Souths website and hosting his extended family at a home game. Really nice stuff.
The small and often outspoken group who were once the media family for Australian soccer must have cringed with embarrassment when they read the outpouring of praise from Matildas' players on social media for their departing coach Ante Milicic this week - who was so popular with the team after the dismissal of previous coach Alen Stajcic.
The Cowboys approached coach Paul Green during the COVID-19 shutdown and actually offered him a contract extension. This was confirmed by their chairman, Lewis Ramsay. The boardroom backflip had nothing to do with his relationship with the players but was more about a falling out with a senior official.
Which NRL club is concerned about a star player who continues to struggle with off-field issues that threaten to ruin his career.
Former NRL boss Todd Greenberg and Shire identity Peter the Greek at Bianchini's coffee shop in Cronulla on Thursday morning talking footy. Your columnist has never seen Greenberg look healthier without the stress of running the great game.
The great Geoff "Pinky" Prenter, founding editor of Rugby League Week, celebrated his 80th birthday in the Southern Highlands last week. It is also the 50th anniversary of the launch of what was once known as the rugby league bible. Prenter says he has fallen back in love with rugby league with the new rules changes. "The six-again restart is the best new rule in the game's history," he said.
Ben Walker, former NRL star and father of the Roosters' rookie halfback Sam Walker, having breakfast with club chairman Nick Politis.
Wallaby legend George Gregan at the Greengate Hotel in Killara, probably drowning his sorrows in that he wasn't around for Rugby Australia's era of giving 16-year-olds $3 million contracts.
Former NRL bad boy John Hopoate listed in the Broncos team to play Melbourne on the official NRL website when teams were released on Tuesday. Old Hoppa is now 46. It was supposed to be his son Jamil.
Check out Part 1 of the NRL RICH 100
Originally published as Saint, Sinner, Shoosh: NRL's $200 million man