Trbojevic asked to be fined for sprint session

This is the untold story of the aftermath to Tom Trbojevic’s sprint down Manly Corso when he lost out to a young mystery man named Harry after a day on the drink to celebrate Brad Parker’s birthday.

In terms of rugby league incidents, it was very low on the misbehaviour scale, but it was high in terms of impact on a football team.

Tom Trbojevic was determined to make amends to the Sea Eagles after his Corso sprint session.Credit:Getty Images

It left Trbojevic – one of the game’s genuine good guys – embarrassed, not because Harry beat him, but because Tommy Turbo had let down his club, his teammates and all of those who invested so much time and money in getting him fit for the 2021 season.

Trbojevic doesn’t like letting people down. It’s a strong family trait. His brother Jake has been known to cry after losses.

And now we can tell you the tale of Tommy’s tears. He knew he did the wrong thing that night on the Corso, and he knows no one believes he slipped in the bathroom the morning after and injured a hamstring. He maintains the story of the bathroom mishap is true and that it wasn’t the first stride of the race that led to yet another hamstring problem.

Regardless, he wanted to make up for being out on the drink. In what may be a first in rugby league, he asked the club to fine him. He was emotional when it happened. He knew missing even a month of football would have serious implications for Manly’s season. And it has. The fine was Trbojevic’s way of saying sorry.

Latrell Mitchell has bought his parents, Patricia and Matt, a house. Credit:Instagram

Latrell’s finest hour

Anyone who knows Latrell Mitchell will tell you it’s family that drives him. Yesterday he achieved an ambition equal to any that he has in his professional career: he bought a home in Taree for his parents, Patricia and Matt. Mitchell announced it on Instagram to his 205,000 followers.

“Today I bought my parents their dream home,” he wrote. It was eight simple words that disguise the hours of training, physical pain and emotional challenges he has been through to reach this point. His mum, Patricia, knows everything he’s endured. She professed her love for her son.

“How do I word this when I am lost with words,” she wrote on his page. “I can’t stop shaking and can’t thank you enough.”

Mitchell did not attend the auction. He was represented by an agent. There were three bidders and the six-bedroom, semi-rural home sold for $1.82 million.

“It’s a good result for him and the vendors,” real estate agent Steve Smith said. “After we settled I met his parents and you can see why he is such a lovely and well respected young man. They are quality people. They didn’t shed a tear but they certainly had huge smiles on their faces. What a lovely thing for him to do for his family.”

Peter V’landys has come under fire for the league’s new rules this season.Credit:SMH

For Pete’s sake

One of the favourite sayings of ARL Commission boss Peter V’landys is, “You never furnish a penthouse”. It’s his way of recognising that a run at the top may be fleeting and could end at any time.

V’landys knows what it’s like to be at the top. His efforts in navigating the code through COVID-19 were impressive. He led the way for sport in this country.

However, it’s fair to say that, since then, V’landys has found out about the brutal nature of rugby league. He’s taken hits from his critics in recent times, especially amid the groundswell of opposition to this year’s rule changes.

Dragons half Ben Hunt spoke on behalf of many players and clubs during the week when he said the new rules have made the game too fast and have led to more injuries. Hunt should know, he’s nursing a broken leg. Statistics were wheeled out to counter the argument, but they don’t tell the full story.

Sharks circling

Sharks chief executive Dino Mezzatesta is promising a decision on the future of coach John Morris within two weeks and, as has been the case for a little while now, Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon is considered the man most likely if they don’t renew Morris’ deal.

It will be a brave board and boss to ditch Morris, who has strong support from the playing group.

Morris is a big Shaun Johnson fan, but the club won’t re-sign him at his present asking price. Johnson wants a new two-year $1.6 million deal. He was one of the best players in the competition last year, but Cronulla won’t pay that sort of money for him.

Gal up to the test

Paul Gallen is stunned by the lack of drug testing in Australian boxing and says his upcoming fight with Lucas Browne is in jeopardy because of it. Gallen is yet to sign the fight contract and is demanding Browne provide a clean test before they fight. He isn’t saying Browne is doing anything untoward, but says it should be a given that both fighters are tested and cleared.

“I asked for drug testing from the start,” Gallen said. “Nothing has been done yet. It’s just over a week out. I’m surprised Australian boxing isn’t tested more regularly. We should both want to prove that we’re doing the right thing.”

Bunnies caught in the headlines

Souths blinked. And whatever spin you may read elsewhere, it’s the reason they are in the middle of a public relations disaster with Adam Reynolds.

For at least a year-and-a-half, Souths were readying themselves to make a two-year offer to their skipper. He would have had to have swallowed a pay cut of $500,000 over two years, but he would have been able to stay at Redfern.

Souths’ decision to keep one favourite son, Alex Johnston, after a public protest has potentially cost them another favourite son.



The Cowboys were ready to splurge $1 million on Johnston. It would have eased the stress on Souths but, to his credit, Johnston wanted to stay put. Be certain this is not Johnston’s fault.

Salary caps are done at least two seasons in advance. Under previous boss Shane Richardson, Souths worked some three years in advance. He was meticulous.

Souths were well aware of the cap situation 18 months ago. To offer Reynolds a two-year deal at a reduced level, they had to let a couple of players go. Johnston was one. Corey Allan was the other. Allan has since joined the Bulldogs. Those moves would have given Souths a cap buffer of about $1 million, depending on who you listen to, over two years – enough to fit in Reynolds and still have money to help extend Cody Walker’s stay.

Instead of holding firm, Souths boosted their wing stocks by keeping Johnston and doubled down by signing Josh Mansour. It was a decision that ate up $1 million of that money over the two years. The other part of the plan was Dane Gagai leaving the club. That is happening.

The hard decision was always Johnston. Souths told him of their intentions well in advance, unlike the situation with Reynolds. Souths now have other players on their roster who they could move on to clear a path for Reynolds.

Half truths

The suggestion that Reynolds is carrying an injury is hard to get a grip on. Everyone I speak to says Reynolds’ back is not a problem. During the past three years, he has hardly missed a game (playing in 77 of a possible 82) and I don’t believe he missed any one of those five games due to a back problem.

The sad part about leaking the information about Reynolds’ back is that it affects his market value. Not wanting him is one thing, but poisoning the market is another.

South Sydney’s roster has been scrupulously put together during the past three years. The only error was Sam Burgess’ four-year extension, but no one knew about his career-ending injury. Despite that, Souths still have $9 million in the bank and no debt. They are the only club in the NRL in this situation. People forget where Souths were in 2004. Owner Russell Crowe doesn’t.

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