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March 17, 2018

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RLPA steps up

Moses’ role is being brought into question following the public relations disaster that greeted his client Matt Lodge’s controversial return to the NRL. The Broncos, Wayne Bennett and the NRL have copped plenty but the man who could have helped re-create Lodge’s image was nowhere to be seen when the going got tough. Lodge’s family and the player himself were given far more support by the RLPA, and more specifically his case worker, Tilda Khoshaba.

When Lodge was first arrested in New York after a drug-and-alcohol-fuelled bender, Moses was in London. He dismissed Lodge’s behaviour as idiotic. Which it was – but when you are taking a whack of a bloke’s income you need to take a more proactive approach.

The RLPA got onto it and Tilda tracked down contact details for Lodge’s family and some of his mates in New York. The next obvious step was to find a lawyer to represent Lodge in his time of need. It was Tilda who tracked down legal representation by contacting the NFL players’ association, and she who started the bail process. She also looked into the rehab facilities in the US and that process took place.

The Wests Tigers then tried to sack Lodge, but were given a stiff arm by the RLPA. They were told they’d face a wrongful dismissal case in the same vein as the Todd Carney case. That resulted in an $80,000 payout to Lodge, and at around this time Moses became re-involved – he made sure that the Tigers had to cover his medical insurance as he had an operation.

Moses’ biggest contribution was to land Lodge a deal, on minimum wage, at the Broncos – a club where he has a stack of clients. Its unclear if Moses attended Lodge’s comeback game against the Dragons, but Tilda sat with Lodge’s parents at Kogarah Oval. Lodge hasn’t praised Tilda in public, but privately he has said he doubts he’d have made it out of New York alive if she hadn’t helped him.

Cold turkey: The in-form Blake Ferguson says he has been off the drink for months.

Cold turkey: The in-form Blake Ferguson says he has been off the drink for months.

Fergo stays dry

Blake Ferguson has been hitting up the Roosters chairman Nick Politis for a new deal at every opportunity. Politis went above and beyond by extending the contract of Ferguson at a very generous $500,000 a season last year. It was as much to help him as his young family, who Ferguson is trying to support after going through a separation. Ferguson says he has been off the drink for months and he has been mightily impressive for the Roosters in their first two games. He is one of the bigger names off contact this year and only needs to keep focused and off the drink to earn a decent new deal. His spending remains a worry for the Roosters, who have been trying to keep him on the right path.

Freddy’s faves

Brad Fittler won’t be afraid to put his own stamp on the Origin team this year. Now, we are not saying these guys are promised selection, but Freddy has been raving about Josh Addo-Carr, Bevan French and Curtis Scott behind closed doors. All are worthy candidates – and if Fittler is looking for a fresh start at least one of them could pop up this year.

Napa mea culpa

The word that Dylan Napa may not be at the Roosters much longer is not new – it stems from his post-Origin form last year. He was linked to Paramatta and the Knights. I spoke with Napa and put it to him about his form.

“Obvioulsy I take responsibility for that,” he said. “It adds pressure to me and I like that. I like the motivation. It’s hard to say why I wasn’t at my best. The Cowboys game really sticks out for me and now all I can do is play well this year. I’ve got no excuses and I know that Origin took it out of me a bit but I have to take the criticism on he chin.’’

Sirro the hero

This column is always happy to report good news or good gestures by sports stars. Here is an email we received from a reader, Paul Dufficy:

“Hi Danny. A Canadian visitor staying with us in Sydney happened to sit next to Paul Sironen on the plane back from Qld. They got chatting. At Sydney, Paul asked our visitor where he was going and how he planned to get to our place. He said by bus and train. Siro drove him to our place. When he also heard that our visitor had a daughter here studying Siro gave him his card and said she could contact him anytime if she needed a hand. Just thought I’d pass on that generosity of spirit. Cheers, Paul.”

Danny Weidler is a reporter with Channel Nine news.

Danny Weidler

Danny Weidler is a sport columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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