The last plane out of Sydney … NRL boss David Gallop.He watched NSW tie the series from home after leaving the chief executive’s role and now former NRL boss David Gallop is set to watch the series decider from the French riviera. Having had three weeks to contemplate his future, Gallop has decided a holiday was what he needed most and yesterday with his wife Kathy, took the last plane out of Sydney for a much-deserved six-week sabbatical in Europe. It’s understood his trip won’t be purely pleasure though, with the International Cricket Council, English Super League and international rugby bodies expressing interest in luring the successful administrator overseas. Gallop has a strong supporter in Frank Lowy at Football Federation Australia, so don’t be surprised to see him in a new role before the end of the NRL season. The 46-year-old has been overwhelmed by public and industry support since his shock departure from the ARL Commission post last month, proving his decade-long tenure in Australian sport’s toughest job hasn’t been underestimated.
Pearce’s true love
Blues halfback Mitchell Pearce says he’s more worried about tomorrow night’s State of Origin decider than gossip-page banter about his love life. Pearce’s face has been a constant feature in gossip pages this year and the speculation surrounding his private life has become a running joke in the NSW camp. ”I didn’t realise I was a socialite,” the 23-year-old told The Inside Back. ”I’d rather see my head in the sports pages than gossip columns. All I’m worried about is having the game of my life for NSW on Wednesday. I can’t wait.” It’s just another thing Pearce and halves partner Todd Carney have in common, the pair’s off-field relationships a constant source of gossip fodder. But that’s the last thing on the pair’s mind, with the duo to undertake their final practice session this afternoon before attempting to end Queensland’s six-year dominance of State of Origin at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night.
Blues legends and fans desperate for their first series win in seven years might be cheering the omission of Billy Slater but punters haven’t been fooled, with replacement fullback Greg Inglis being backed as favourite to get the man of the match honours. Sportsbet also has Inglis at favourite to score first try and score a try at any stage of the match. Slater might be out of a job altogether if all the above come true.
Cops change colour
As if walking through Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall wasn’t intimidating enough for Ricky Stuart’s Blues, Paul Gallen and his teammates found themselves at the mercy of the police, with a CBD patrol car featuring a Maroons livery and the signatures of every Queensland player. ”That’s the last thing we need, the police hounding us,” our Blues spy said. ”I mean, Queen Street is filled with parochial Queenslanders at the best of times but a police car? That’s unbelievable. People were everywhere taking photos as we walked past it.”
Rufus gets home
The highly trained hawk used to scare pigeons away from the pristine grass courts of Wimbledon was returned to its owners on Sunday after being stolen during the first week of the tennis tournament. Rufus, a Harris hawk, was off-duty in his cage when he was snatched by thieves late Thursday but is now home after being handed in at the offices of the RSPCA, police said. Rufus’s Twitter account, written by his owners, said: ”We can confirm the news is true RUFUS HAS BEEN FOUND safe and well….#FindRufus”. Visitors to the world’s most famous tennis tournament often stop to have their picture taken with the four-year-old, which was reared by the family-run business Avian Environmental Consultants.
V8s for Nine?
Having lost its battle to win AFL rights from Channel Seven, Channel Nine remains intent on striking a blow against its sporting coverage rival and is on the verge of luring the big-money V8 Supercars across to Willoughby for next year. Nine types, including head of sport Steve Crawley, see a lot of similarities between the V8 Supercars and NRL audiences. And aside from it being a huge blow to Seven, there’s a massive opportunity for cross-promotion between the NRL and motor sports category. Nine boss Jeff Browne met the V8 Supercars administration in Sydney last Thursday and a deal could be a reached as soon as next month. Next year is already shaping up as a massive season for V8 Supercars with the introduction of the Car of the Future and Nissan as a third manufacturer. And if Nine retains the NRL rights, as expected, the lure of a V8 Supercars round before a live NRL match would be a ratings bonanza. The five-year V8 deal is expected to cost Nine about $300 million but given the amount of corporate spending in V8s, they could make that back in advertising in the first year alone. The existing deal at Seven expires in December.
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