SUNDAY SIN BIN
Parochialism starts young.
Cronulla are making a play for injured Penrith star Michael Gordon. The Sharks are in search of a quality outside back and have identified Gordon as their man. The luckless Panther, who is still six to eight weeks away from an NRL return, has also fielded interest from overseas.
His priority is to get back on the field and prove himself worthy of a contract extension at the foot of the mountains. Penrith supremo Phil Gould recently stated Gordon has been underpaid at the club and he'd do whatever he could do to keep him. The Sharks tried unsuccessfully to lure ''Flash'' to Toyota Stadium the last time he was off contract. Gordon is their main recruitment target - they pulled out of negotiations with Tony Williams because of his asking price.
Manly fans attempting to bring in a banner proclaiming ''Des is a dirty dog'' into gate B of ANZ Stadium on Friday night were prevented from doing so by stadium and Bulldogs officials. But there were no hard feelings between rival coaches Des Hasler and Geoff Toovey after the match. Sin Bin spotted the pair enjoying a beer in the Bulldogs sheds while several players including Glenn Stewart and Steve Matai caught up with their former coach. Joe Galuvao even posted a photo on Twitter of Hasler's informal reunion with his old Manly mates.
NET ATTACK ON KEARNEY
The Parramatta faithful are getting impatient with coach Stephen Kearney. One fan, Jeremy Heathcote, has started a petition on change.org demanding his immediate sacking. ''Parramatta Eels have a strong history of success and the current coach is bringing the club down. Discussing the removal of two of the stalwarts of the game (Luke Burt and Nathan Hindmarsh) is the last straw. We urge the board of Parramatta Eels to do the right thing and remove Stephen Kearney from head coaching duties.'' So far, 28 people have signed - although that number is likely to balloon if the Eels lose against Wests Tigers today.
BENJI BEATS FLU
Benji Marshall has been struck down by the flu during the week but he is a certain starter against the Eels in today's game.
ROY & HG STILL KICKING
Whatever happened to Roy and H.G.? We asked the ''Ace up the sleeve'', H.G. Nelson. ''Obviously Triple M have returned to the golden age of successful radio, having moved on from what I call the 'wilderness years' of employing Roy and H.G.,'' Nelson said. ''With the lurking prospect of being deployed on 'special projects' - which is code in radio for nothing to do or to never get a call again - that's how it's panned out. The relationship [with Southern Cross Austereo] is so good that our paths haven't crossed. It's fair to say that commercial radio works largely on a three-year turnaround and we did our three years and it was time to get off the bus.'' A three-part ABC series starring Roy Slaven (aka John Doyle), Two on the Great Divide, is being aired. Nelson, aka Greig Pickhaver, described his recent TV foray, It's a Knockout, as ''a runaway ratings smash never to be repeated''.
STARTING THEM EARLY
The brainwashing in Queensland starts very young. Sin Bin spotted these baby-sized t-shirts (see picture above) on sale at markets north of the border. This is child abuse … somebody call DOCS.
GUERRA IN SIGHTS
Wests Tigers have made Roosters forward Aiden Guerra their focus, but they will have to be quick - another club is closing in.
YOUNG AND PROMISING
There are plenty of exciting, and often familiar, names coming through National Youth Competition ranks. Jamil Hopoate will make his debut today, continuing his family's growing tradition. Here are some of the other young stars worth keeping an eye on:
Jordan Marshall-King: The younger brother of Benji Marshall has already scored two tries in limited game time since making his debut against the Dragons in round three.
Dean Britt: The son of Bulldogs stalwart Darren Britt has been a mainstay of Melbourne's pack this season.
George Burgess: His game is similar to bigger brother, Sam. In four outings for the Rabbitohs he has scored two tries and made 113.75 metres per game to go with his 28.75 tackles. Recently made the step up to VB Cup and is earmarked as a future first-grader by Norths coach Wayne Lambkin.
Jackson Garlick: His goal is to follow in the footsteps of his father, Sean, and captain South Sydney. Also a hooker, he has only received limited game time.
Sheen Lomax: The son of former Canberra prop John, he has made his debut off the bench for the Raiders.
Kaysa Pritchard: The brother of ''Frank the Tank'', the hooker has been coming off the Eels bench and scored his first try of the year against the Cowboys in round three.
Semi Radradra: The Fijian rugby Sevens star had never played league before joining Parramatta this season. A natural try-scorer, he has bagged four meat pies - including a double against the Knights.
Tautau Moga: Has been interchanging between the Roosters under 20s and the NSW Cup as he prepares for his coming NRL debut.
Korbin Sims: The Sims family highlights the farce that is representative eligibility laws. Eldest brother Ashton has played for Fiji, middle sibling Tariq is a Blue in waiting, while Korbin has pledged his allegiance to the Maroons. Korbin can play - he made 617 metres in his opening four games of NYC footy at Newcastle.
Jack Wighton got ''knocked silly'' during Raiders training during the week and is in doubt for today's clash with Cronulla. The good news: he was tackling his likely replacement, NSW fullback contender Josh Dugan.
If Brian Smith was cursing his luck after the Roosters blew an eight-point lead with minutes remaining against St George Illawarra on Anzac Day, then one can only imagine how his SG Ball coach Mark Riddell felt yesterday. The first-year coach's side led Canberra 26-4 at half-time in their semi-final at St Marys, only to lose 33-32 in extra time.