- Pearce apologises, admits to alcohol problem
- Pearce's behaviour will have long-term implications
- Wayne Pearce breaks silence about Mitchell
It's more renowned for recreation than rehabilitation, but Thailand is the secret location Mitchell Pearce has been whisked away to in the hope of getting his life back in order.
Buying in to Super Bowl 50
Advertisers are paying $5 million dollars for thirty-second spots in this weekend's Super Bowl, hoping to share the spotlight with the big game.
The whereabouts of the disgraced Roosters captain has been a closely guarded secret after he fled Sydney to escape the media spotlight following THAT video involving a dog. Ironically, Pearce was in Thailand just a few weeks ago, where he posted pictures of himself enjoying some beverages in the popular tourist hotspot. There will be no drinking on his return trip, where his mother, Terry, will be by his side for another week. The 26-year-old is expected to then go it alone in rehab for the next month before jetting back to the Harbour City in the hope of resuming his playing career.
It is understood Pearce is staying in the northern part of Thailand which is known for, among other things, being home to The Cabin – one of Asia's top rehabilitation centres. The facility is described on its website as being "like a 5-star luxury Lanna-style tropical resort", with the majority of its clients hailing from Australia.
The Roosters are hoping to have Pearce on deck as soon as possible this season, but we're hearing the club is considering squeezing him out at its conclusion. The tri-colours haven't had much luck with their playmakers of late – they poached Parramatta half Ryan Matterson as cover but he broke his leg in pre-season and is out for the year. However, there could be some good news, with the Roosters deep in talks with Jackson Hastings about an extension. There's a chance the deal could be done before the start of the season.
Ref duo out of loop
They are the former Australian cricket coach and the rugby league Immortal, trumpeted with much fanfare as the men to lead the NRL refereeing ranks into a bold new era.
However, John Buchanan and Bob Fulton have ceased to have any role with the whistleblowers as head office prepares to introduce the bunker to the game. In August 2014, the pair were appointed to a working group to explore all avenues to improve the efficiency, consistency and accuracy of match officials. It was hoped the pair would play an integral role in the implementation of the Central Command Centre, the off-site review system used by a number of leading American sporting bodies. However, Fulton left the role some time ago to ensure there were no conflicts of interest after he took up an official role with his former club Manly.
Buchanan, who also oversaw an era of dominance while coaching Australia, assumes his role is over after failing to hear from Rugby League Central since his last involvement, during the 2015 finals series.
"I haven't heard anything, so I assume I've finished up for the time being," Buchanan said.
Buchanan keeps eye on Pup
No love lost: Michael Clarke and former coach John Buchanan. Photo: Getty Images
Buchanan will be watching with interest the comeback of former Australian captain Michael Clarke, who claimed his dog could have done a better job as coach in his memoirs.
"Michael has obviously had time to reflect on his initial decision and feels – and rightly so – he is still good enough to play good quality cricket," Buchanan said.
As to whether he could make an international comeback in one of the game's formats, Buchanan said: "That's a question only he's going to be able to answer because presumably he'd retired because he'd lost his real passion for the game.
"That could have been brought about by the role that he occupied, being captain and not necessarily performing as well as he'd liked.
"He may, by playing club cricket, decide whether or not he really does want to play cricket again. He needs to decide first of all whether he's prepared to do all the preparation, all the training, all the game time and then perform at a level that will satisfy selectors again.
"They are harder questions to answer when you are 34 and there are a lot other things happening in his life."
Holmes still on Eels radar
Valentine Holmes, one of the Maroons hopefuls sanctioned for breaking curfew during Queensland's ill-fated Emerging Origin camp, was well and truly on Parramatta's radar before the club poached Michael Jennings. The Eels were desperate for a classy outside back and were hopeful Cronulla, overstocked with fullbacks, may have been prepared to let him go. In the end they got Roosters star Jennings, but expect them to be one of the clubs in the market for Holmes when his contract expires.
Which big-name off season recruit is already concerned about his third-party deal unravelling? TPAs have a history of falling over at his new club.
Dry time for Slater
Billy Slater was desperate to get onto the field for the Nines, in any capacity. While Melbourne wasn't going to risk their star fullback in the pre-season competition, Slater was keen to run the water for his Storm teammates. However, the Queensland custodian didn't have the qualifications necessary for the gig.
Mullaney in Tigers sights
Former Parramatta utility Jake Mullaney has attracted interest from Australian clubs after a stint in the Super League. Mullaney, who made 18 NRL appearances for the Eels before switching to Salford and Bradford, has piqued the interests of Wests Tigers, where he set a number of pointscoring and tryscoring records while playing for the joint-venture's NYC team.
Dellavedova on the up
Having a ball: Australian NBA star Matthew Dellavedova.
Matthew Dellavedova's star continues to rise after the Australian was named an ambassador for Spalding basketballs. The Cleveland guard became a cult hero during the Cavaliers' NBA finals series and shapes as a key figure in Australia's quest for a gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
Paulo a Raiders man
Expect Junior Paulo to join Canberra … it's just a matter of when. We're hearing the Parramatta prop has signed for seasons 2017-19, but the Raiders would love to grab him immediately if he becomes available. The Green Machine are shelling out the big bucks for forwards we're hearing the deal with Newcastle's Joseph Tapine is all but done as well.
Cap woes for Eels
Parramatta fans are nervous about the prospect of having to shed players – or worse still, start the season on minus-four points – following Fairfax Media's revelations about the latest contracting dramas at the club.The NRL's investigation of a series of deals – including the third-party variety to Jarryd Hayne and Anthony Watmough – has raised plenty of questions. Like the dozen or so we put to the club in writing. Such as why potential conflicts were not reported to the NRL and what will happen to the officials who sat on the information. However, long-suffering fans continue to be kept in the dark.
"As we are currently working with the NRL on the review we have no further comment to make," was the club's only response.
Status quo at Bulldogs
While some NRL clubs have been rocked by board instability, that's not the case for the Bulldogs. Canterbury will have their annual general meeting on February 14 and, as befitting Valentine's Day, it will be a love-in. No one is challenging the incumbent directors at the elections, ensuring the current board returns to office.
Fresh from the news that Channel 7 will be broadcasting their upcoming Olympic qualification matches in Japan, the Matildas were in Parramatta this week for a training camp.
It would be fair to say that the five Melbourne City players and the three from Sydney FC within the Matildas squad were feeling a little tired on Tuesday evening when the Matildas played the Sydney FC academy team at Glenwood just 48 hours after facing each other in the Westfield W-League grand final. For the record the Sydney FC Academy boys won 3-1.
Interest: Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara decorated with slogans for the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. Photo: AP
Super Bowl interest grows
Perhaps it's the Jarryd Hayne effect, but more Australians are interested in the Super Bowl than ever before. According to data from Repucom, eight per cent of locals – or 1.47 million people – are "seriously interested" in the NFL. In total, 28 per cent of Aussies have "some interest" in grid iron, equating to 6.62 million people.
Titans not giving up
The Gold Coast are still on the hunt for outside backs and have had another crack at St George Illawarra utility Peter Mata'utia. Despite recruiting Tim Lafai, Kurt Mann and Adam Quinlan, the Dragons are keen to keep the eldest of the talented Mata'utia clan, even making him a member of their leadership group.
The Footy Show will celebrate the Cowboys' maiden premiership by broadcasting its first show out of North Queensland. With no advertising, the show sold out on the first day tickets become available.