Tayla Harris and Renee Gartner are set for a big bout.
Tayla Harris and Renee Gartner are set for a big bout.

Saint, Sinner, Shoosh: Hayne and Folau’s catch-up

ONE makes headlines, the other writes them - so when AFLW star Tayla Harris takes on media personality Renee Gartner in the boxing ring, it should be a brutal clash. Plus, Luke Keary's brain injury diagnosis.

SAINT

The heartfelt outpouring of love and support - from complete strangers to old champs and teammates like Steve and Mark Waugh - for popular ex-cricketer and media personality Gavin Robertson, who is bravely fighting brain cancer.

SINNER

What sort of example is old coach Wayne Bennett setting at South Sydney by admitting he deliberately lied to the media and fans over the signing of James Roberts? As this column reported at the time, it was a done deal last month.

SINNER II

The horrible footage of fallen star Ben Barba in a confrontation with Queensland police over yet another domestic violence complaint in Mackay. If only the Canterbury Bulldogs had handled his original case properly back in 2013 rather than allow him to walk out of rehab one week into a month-long stint.

Ben Barba leaves Mackay Court House with his lawyer. Image: Daryl Wright.
Ben Barba leaves Mackay Court House with his lawyer. Image: Daryl Wright.

SHOOSH

Which veteran league journalist has been refused media accreditation this year? Even working for broadcast rights holders Channel 9 hasn't helped. His emails to the NRL media department have gone unanswered.

SHOOSH II

Which NRL star bought a $14,000 watch two months ago but still owes the jeweller $6000, which he had agreed to pay off at $1000 a week?

SHOOSH III

Which very handy Melbourne Storm forward is in negotiations with the Rabbitohs for next season?

SHOOSH IV

Which big-name Knights player is about to dump his high-profile manager?

SPOTTED

Unemployed footy stars Israel Folau and Jarryd Hayne having a coffee in the Berlin Café in Darling Street Balmain on Wednesday morning. They grew up in Minto, went to the same school and played junior footy together, before their jump into the NRL at Melbourne Storm and the Parramatta Eels and as rivals in State of Origin.

SPOTTED II

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy in business class on a Virgin flight to Hamilton Island for a well-earned break during the bye round.

SPOTTED III

Melbourne Storm recruitment boss Paul Bunn in Liverpool for the UK Super League magic round last weekend looking for potential signings.

Tayla Harris is one hell of a competitor. Image: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Tayla Harris is one hell of a competitor. Image: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

TOUGH WOMEN IN THE RING

It is being billed as the biggest and most brutal female boxing match-up in Australian sport.

AFLW superstar and unbeaten pro-fighter Tayla Harris will step into the ring to fight Renee Gartner, the popular media personality and daughter of former Manly Sea Eagles star Russel Gartner.

The ladies will step into the ring on a Tim Tszyu undercard on August 14. (An opponent has yet to be confirmed).

Gartner has had several amateur bouts but this is her first professional fight.

 

"I have been in and out of the amateur game for a few years now and have decided to turn professional as it suits my style," she said, "Debuting on a huge card headlined by Tim Tzyu is an exciting start.

"I thank Tayla for taking this fight. We both have solid athletic backgrounds and I think this will be a really entertaining contest. I'm looking forward to being part of the surge in women's boxing."

- Meanwhile the rumours about Sharks warhorse Paul Gallen possibly fighting Sonny Bill Williams in a long awaited grudge match will not go away. SBW will make a decision on his football future later in the year after the rugby union World Cup. He will be 34 later this year.

RUGBY LEAGUE HERITAGE

A pair of football boots from last weekend's NRL indigenous round reveals the stunning popularity of Queensland Maroons superstar Kalyn Ponga.

The boots the Newcastle Knights wore were painted by young indigenous artists to raise money and awareness for the prevention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait youth suicide.

In an online auction after the game against the Roosters, Ponga's boots raised $14,620.

The next highest bid was for Mitchell Pearce's boots that fetched $2320.

Keary will be back on the field soon. Image: Brett Costello
Keary will be back on the field soon. Image: Brett Costello

KEARY GETS ALL CLEAR

One of the world's leading neuro surgeons has cleared Sydney Roosters star Luke Keary of any long-term brain-injury concerns.

As part of NRL protocol for two concussion episodes in a short period of time, Professor Chris Levi, as an independent medico, carried out extensive testing on Keary last week.

Levi is renowned as Australia's leading concussion expert. He has tested 100 former NRL players as part of long-term research into possible early dementia.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said the advice was to give the five-eighth a six-week rest.

"The great news is there was no evidence of any potential long-term concerns," he said.

Keary will miss the remainder of the Origin series and will return around Round 17.

Former coach Graham Murray will be with the Blues in Brisbane.
Former coach Graham Murray will be with the Blues in Brisbane.

MUZZ'S SPIRIT WITH THE BLUES

The legacy of the late NSW coach Graham Murray lives on with this Blues State of Origin side.

Murray worked alongside Blues manager Peter Parr for much of his NRL coaching career.

So when Parr became Blues manager last year, he implemented Murray's old rules and team values.

"Muzz had three rules," Parr explained, "Be on time all the time, take your manners wherever you go and always dress in the team apparel. And that's what we tell the Origin players on the first day of camp."

SPARKLES WALKS OUT

FORMER Cronulla and NSW centre Mark "Sparkles" McGaw has quit the board of the Sharks just six weeks after being elected as a director. He resigned and walked out of a board meeting on Wednesday night over a disagreement with another director.

It's surprising because McGaw worked so hard to promote himself at the recent elections. Two other directors have quit since the selection - Greg Taylor, who was chairman of audit and risk, and Mark Deutsche. The club is being run by six directors.

73-year-old Denis Cherry is still fighting fit.
73-year-old Denis Cherry is still fighting fit.

CHERRY RIPE TO FIGHT

AT 73, most men are retired with their feet up. Not Denis Cherry, a cancer survivor who is Australia's oldest amateur boxer.

Cherry fights for the Australian title in over-60s (64kg-69kg) next Saturday night at Caloundra RSL.

"Why would I retire," he said. "I'm fitter than I've ever been and I've recently picked up two new sponsors, Paleo Hero Muesli and No Deal Boxing."

Damien Cook at his new health centre in Caringbah. Image: Dylan Robinson
Damien Cook at his new health centre in Caringbah. Image: Dylan Robinson

COOK HELPING RIVALS

IT's nice to see NSW Blues Origin hooker Damien Cook helping out rival NRL players.

Cook has bought into the new La Cure Wellness Centre in Caringbah which specialises in healing treatments.

Last week we spotted Sharks star Shaun Johnson getting float therapy as he nears a return from a hamstring injury. Wade Graham also goes there. Cook lives in the area and recently bought a $1.5m house in Woolooware.

His lovely wife Courtney is due to give birth to their first child this year.

Referee Chris Sutton will be in Brisbane for Origin. Image: Phil Hillyard
Referee Chris Sutton will be in Brisbane for Origin. Image: Phil Hillyard

UNREST IN REFS' RANKS

THERE is again outrage and claims of nepotism in the NRL refereeing ranks over State of Origin appointments. Chris Sutton, the little brother of refs boss Bernard Sutton, has been named standby touch judge for the big game.

He gets his trip to Brisbane, a tracksuit, free ticket and best seat in the house while other more experienced touch judges have been snubbed and shown they have no pathway to the big events. Head of Football Graham Annesley is facing a huge backlash from within the ranks.

Bob Fulton’s massive barra — at least he got a photo to prove it.
Bob Fulton’s massive barra — at least he got a photo to prove it.

IMMORTAL'S FISHY TALE

THIS is the one-metre barramundi that rugby league Immortal Bob Fulton recently caught on a fishing trip to Darwin with old footy mates Royce Ayliffe and Ian Schubert. It weighed well over 20kg and took almost 15 minutes to land.

JACK ON THE MOVE

CANBERRA Raiders star Jack Wighton has walked out on his manager Paul Sutton from the SFX stable. He will link up with agent and boxing promoter Matt Rose, who also has Cody Walker on his books. Rose has strong connections to the NRL's biggest indigenous stars and is building an impressive clientele.