Brad Prestige tackles the sled.

Brad Prestige tackles the sled. Photo: Supplied

Wests Tigers are considering hopping into bed with a rival code as they search for a new training base to replace Concord Oval. The WestConnex project has all but spelt the end of the joint-venture club's time at its current facility and officials are exploring potential new locations they can call home. One possibility is shifting to TG Millner Field, where they would be cohabitants with the Eastwood rugby club. Other options include the ELS Hall Park premises in Ryde, a site in Meadowbank or a location within the Homebush Bay precinct. The Tigers have already increased their presence in the area by shifting home games from Allianz Stadium to ANZ Stadium. Tigers CEO Grant Mayer believes the WestConnex project means the club has ''two years max'' before the club is likely to be shifted from Concord. ''It's going to be massive, it's going underneath Parramatta Road, so it will be a big bonus for this area because there will be a whole bunch of urban regeneration,'' Mayer said. ''But to build it they will need to build space to park trucks, so I reckon we could be on the drawing board to be moved out of here. There's no way you could have trucks parked here and have a football team.'' If an appropriate site can be found, Mayer said it was possible to find a new home in just 12 months. ''[Concord Oval] is aged and when you have inferior training facilities you have to pay more for players to come to the club,'' Mayer said. ''This is an exciting opportunity for us.''

 

China game sunk

Brad Prestige during his rodeo days.

Brad Prestige during his rodeo days. Photo: Supplied

Super League supremo John Ribot's vision of playing rugby league in China remains a pipe-dream after the NRL refused to underwrite the latest push into the country. Manly and Canberra are privately fuming the ARLC didn't back their push to shift their round-eight game from Brookvale to Shenzhen after they and their sponsors did all the groundwork. The sticking point? The NRL wasn't prepared to risk $750,000, which was the absolute worst-case scenario if there was a shortfall. Surely a small price to pay after signing a $1 billion broadcast deal. A great opportunity lost.

 

Dogs chasing DCE?

We've been hearing Canterbury have made discreet inquiries about Manly superstar Daly Cherry-Evans. The Bulldogs missed out on his halves partner, Kieran Foran, but ''DCE'' also has a strong bond with his former coach Des Hasler. There's also strong mail Canberra are on the hunt for Sea Eagles forward Glenn Stewart. Watch this space.

 

Raw hide: chiropractor puts body on line for Sochi

When they were one member short, the Australian bobsleigh team asked their chiropractor if he knew a daredevil who fitted the sport's specific height and weight requirements and was prepared to have a go.

Brad Prestidge nodded and smiled. ''Yep. You're looking at him.'' In one of the most unlikely Winter Olympic fairytales this side of Cool Runnings, this is the story of a man whose main sporting claim to fame was a stint as a steer wrestler at rodeos. But after joining the team two years ago for their European Cup campaign, ''Aussie Bob'' will be going to Sochi if he makes the jump from the shadow squad when selections are ratified on January 19.

This is a genuine team of battlers. While their Olympic competitors are full-time athletes with sleds made by car manufacturers such as McLaren, the Australians are amateurs in a borrowed sled. Their best athlete, Christopher Spring, was poached by medal prospects Canada and they only just landed their first sponsor, Kogan, a couple of days ago.

''It's a bit like Cool Runnings but they are professionals,'' Prestidge said. ''We just knocked Jamaica out so they won't be going to the Olympics. They crashed at Lake Placid so bad their sled split.''

Having tackled 300 kilogram steer, Prestidge has little fear for his safety in a sport where competitors hit top speeds of about 155km/h. ''We had a disastrous last Olympics at Vancouver, they tipped over and came down on their heads, so they had very sore necks after that,'' the chiropractor said.

''They didn't want to end on such a bad note and they needed someone to sit in the back. I was keen to jump in and have a go.''

 

Bunnies bowled over

South Sydney have snapped up the grandson of legendary cricketer Alan DavidsonTim Davidson's season appeared over when he broke his ankle in the first tackle of the year for club side Milperra. When the Colts made it to the grand final at Belmore Oval, the winger thought he had no chance of making his comeback but brought his gear in case he was given a few minutes near the end of the game. ''He left home and he didn't even have anything to eat - he didn't think he'd be playing,'' said Tim's father, Neil. ''But then he ran out with the No.5 on his back, they started him. He scored the first try and had a fantastic game. Apparently a Rabbitohs scout had come along to watch one of the other fellows but then said, 'Who is this winger?' It's an amazing story - Souths picked him up based on just one game. He was in the right place at the right time.'' His famous grandfather was also a leaguie of some repute but rose to the top in cricket. A bowling all-rounder, he played 44 Tests for Australia and finished his career with the remarkable bowling average of 20.53. ''Tim's got some genes there,'' Neil said. Alan Davidson will be honoured in The Battle of the Smashers, a Twenty20 match at Pratten Park on January 12. Participants will include Hazem El Masri, Steve Mortimer, Nathan Hindmarsh, Phil Jacques, Danny Green, Mick Potter, Chris Lawrence, Danny Green and Michael O'Loughlin. Proceeds will go to the Salvos bushfire appeal.

 

Still involved

It's good to see Stephen Humphreys hasn't been lost to the greatest game of all. The former Wests Tigers boss is interim boss of competitions for the NSWRL.

 

Good for Grigor

When Maria Sharapova and Grigor Dimitrov arrive for the Australian Open, they will do so as one of sport's great power couples. While Sharapova's exploits are well known, Dimitrov is one of the hottest young talents in men's tennis, having beaten Novak Djokovic en route to a world ranking of 23 with a bullet. The Bulgarian baseliner's coach, Australian Roger Rasheed, reckons the youngster can learn plenty from being in Sharapova's company. ''There was a bit of early attention and any young kid would find that a bit hard to adjust to,'' Rasheed said. ''The beauty of being involved with Maria is you actually get to learn how she operates daily as well. She's very professional, she's got all the other assets like money, but she's very driven to hit tennis balls. She loves the competition; she's desperate to compete on the tennis court. There's that great drive and she's a really nice girl, so he will learn some different things just by being in that space as far as her attitude.''

 

Top-level tiff

Which NRL coach and their CEO had a blazing row during the week? One wonders if there is room for both of them at the Sydney club.

 

America's still home

Jack Newton has spoken out about his son Clint's decision to play for the USA in the Rugby League World Cup, declaring the Panthers forward had every right to represent the Tomahawks. ''When I saw him with his hand on his heart singing The Star-Spangled Banner it was a bit strange,'' Newton said. ''But he was born in America. I lived there for seven years while I was playing on the [PGA] tour. He was born in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He was quite entitled to play for America.''

Suffering Shark

It has been a horror week for Cronulla but some have been doing it tougher than others. Hooker John Morris did a stint in hospital after contracting an infection.

 

Danny Weidler is on leave