If there's something more quintessentially rugby league than a Hollywood actor/club owner getting into a blazing argument with a cranky little playmaker during a team bonding session, forcing the cranky little playmaker to storm off in a huff before catching the first plane home, can someone tell me what is?
Souths are bemused that reports have surfaced about Russell Crowe's blow-up with Luke Keary at Crowe's Nana Glen ranch, where he has his own private pub.
Sam Burgess weds Phoebe Hooke in Bowral
Sam Burgess, who recently returned to the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and Phoebe Hooke, a former writer for women's magazines, have gotten married in Bowral. Vision: Nine News.
Crowe squared up hooker Cameron McInnes, questioning whether he can fill the large shoes of Issac Luke, who left last season to join the Warriors. Keary leapt to the young rake's defence, so Rusty then turned on him.
The golden rule of footy team management: don't get drunk with the players. Surely the Jason Taylor kung-fu episode on Mad Monday a few years ago proved that.
We bet some of the Souths players wouldn't have been overly concerned about Keary, because he is a prickly little character who divides opinion in the team.
For the record, the altercation between Crowe and Keary did not become physical as some are trying to suggest. They should simply make it an additional chapter in the Book of Feuds and all laugh about it one day.
It's a bad look for the club but Souths thought the issue had been buried weeks ago. They also insist the incident isn't a snapshot of a wider malaise at Redfern just 14 months after they won the premiership.
We won't bore you with all the details of what's been happening at Souths over the off-season, from players unhappy with coach Michael Maguire, to some wanting out, to anger over the mountains moved to sign Sam Burgess.
Shane Richardson has been parachuted back into the general manager's chair, and he will have the invidious job of putting Crowe and Maguire back in their boxes when the need occurs.
Richo is a good man. A man of his word. He is the right person to help steer Souths back on course.
But what's becoming clearer as the 2016 season draws closer is that Crowe needs to take control of his club again, alongside new co-owner James Packer.
We're assured some big changes are coming for Souths. A five-year plan? People scoff at the term but if you stop moving in this game you are dead.
They won't admit it publicly, but Souths have not handled their success as well as they should have. Maybe it was always going to happen. It's what they do from here that matters.
Indeed, Souths will loathe the comparison with their 100-year rivals but no club moves quicker in the NRL than the Roosters.
You can bet they're quietly laughing into their vanilla-soy-double-shot-decaf-no-foam-extra-hot-mochas at the Roosters about the Crowe incident.
The Chooks have an interesting year ahead themselves.
Blake Ferguson moves to fullback, and is training so hard that he's broken a nose and a finger.
He's been touted as potential NSW player. Another likely redemption story for the player who got his life back in order after wayward behaviour away from footy.
Rumours have been floating around about him returning to old ways, and they have travelled all the way to the NRL.
But the Roosters cannot fault him. They're even getting reports of how well Ferguson – now a dad – has been behaving.
Whether he stays at fullback beyond this year is another question.
The Roosters are still holding out hope for Jarryd Hayne.
Given how much time the San Francisco 49ers rookie seems to be spending at wanky Coogee watering hole The Pavilion, you could argue he's preparing himself for life in the eastern suburbs – but Hayne is telling anyone who will listen he's headed back to the US, regardless of whether new 49ers coach Chip Kelly wants him.
The Roosters are also finding wiggle room in their salary cap for Sonny Bill Williams to return to the NRL next year.
Roosters boss Nick Politis understands headline players not only win premiership but pay the bills, and he'll get as many of them at his club as he possibly can.
It's also a big season for captain and halfback Mitchell Pearce, whose deal ends at the end of 2017 but who could be hustled along if reports about new signing Jayden Nikorima are bang on.
Captain one year, possibly squeezed out the next. How quintessentially rugby league.
Boulous right for Eels
Parramatta made the right call in appointing John Boulous as chief executive this week – but it came months after they initially told him he had the job.
We hope the Eels stick solid, though, because take it as fact an approach was made to Shane Richardson, who has left League Central to return to Souths.
The strong push from the clubs for Todd Greenberg to become NRL chief executive continues, but don't expect a decision to be made until April.
This column continues to hear about players using prescription drugs for fun rather than pain – despite the fact Souths players Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray slipped into comas last year after misusing them.
We're told the players from one club throw a stack of different prescriptions into a bowl, and then take it in turns to close their eyes, pick one out, swallow it … and then wait for the party to start. Or for the player to fall asleep in the corner.
Sounds like a blast.
Siren over the top
Look, we love a siren. We especially love The Phantom Siren.
But there's disturbing news that a siren will sound whenever a team breaches the 30-second shot clock for scrums and drop-outs this season. So get ready for a siren-a-thon throughout 2016.
The shot clock and its subsequent siren have been approved by (most) coaches and committees and so on, but we hate it.
Why can't the referee – there are two of them, right? – simply tell the player: "Kick the ball now and stop wasting time or I'm giving the other side a penalty".
And if they don't, give the penalty. That'll learn 'em.
Unethical sponsorship ...
The Australian Open is under attack for taking on a betting company – William Hill – as a sponsor of their tournament.
It's an issue other codes and sporting bodies have grappled with for a year.
The Australian Olympic Committee has denied the advances, believing it is hypocritical to ban athletes from gambling on one hand – and then a taking a fistful of dollars from betting agencies with the other.
On that note, various alcohol sponsors were climbing out of the trees to sponsor our Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro later this year.
No thanks, said the AOC.
... and the good kind
Jillaroos players Tallisha Harden (2016 NRL Community Ambassador), Casey Karklis and Jenni-Sue Hoepper (2015 inaugural Dally M Female Recipient and 2016 NRL Community Ambassador). Photo: Supplied
Nice to hear that the Women's Indigenous All Stars side has received a sponsor.
In a tough sporting market, the Sydney TAFE-EORA College (Yulang Aboriginal Education and Training Unit) has come on board ahead of a camp in Sydney this weekend. Good stuff.
Men's Indigenous All Stars captain Greg Inglis will welcome the girls, then former Raiders captain Alan Tongue will present the "Voice Against Violence" program.
The women's team is stacked with talent, including Jillaroos players Tallisha Harden (2016 NRL Community Ambassador), Casey Karklis and Jenni-Sue Hoepper (2015 inaugural Dally M Female Recipient and 2016 NRL Community Ambassador).
Tantrum: Nick Kyrgios had some choice words for his team on Wednesday night. Photo: AP
"I don't want it any more. Don't clap. Don't say anything. Don't say a word." – Nick Kyrgios to his team in the stands. Seriously, this guy …
We wrote this before Lleyton Hewitt's second-round clash against David Ferrer - and when it comes to sport, assumptions are dangerous to make – but Lleyton Hewitt's heart grows bigger the closer he comes to the end of his career. If it's all over, well played, Balboa.
In the wake of the Chris Gayle controversy, Mel McLaughlin has been branded hypocritical for offering to buy Mark Waugh a drink after getting his name wrong during Ten's BBL coverage – and a hatchet job from The Daily Mail over an excited tweet from 2013 about meeting Viv Richards. What group one gibber.
It's a big weekend for … Peyton Manning and Tom Brady when the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots meet in Monday morning's AFC Championship match, with a Super Bowl berth on the line. The Manning-Brady rivalry has its own Wikipedia page. That is all.
It's an even bigger weekend for … Indian batsmen Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who must be absolutely stoked to be scoring big tons in the one-day series against Australia – only to watch their side lose. They play the fifth and final match of the series at the SCG on Saturday.