PETER HOLMES a COURT has called for an end to the outbursts from George Piggins following Piggins's open letter in The Sun-Herald last week. Piggins has documented his gripes about the methods used during the turbulent purchase of the club by Russell Crowe and Holmes a Court on several occasions - he is now saying that's why he won't enjoy the greatest run by a Souths team since Piggins coached them to a minor premiership in 1989.
Holmes a Court said now was not the time for a slanging match, as did Crowe. They refuse to fire back at Piggins. Holmes a Court agreed to provide just one comment: ''Now is the time where every sinew must be bent towards supporting the coach and the team. Let's gather old and new members to cheer the team at the sharp end of the season. Nothing else is more important and George's letter points out many great reasons to support the team, and that is very positive.''
Perhaps the most astounding view Piggins expressed is that the vote to decide the future of the club was rigged, and that chairman Nick Pappas sold the club.
Pappas decided he could not sell the club - instead members must decide its future with a 75 per cent majority. It was members who spoke their minds at that meeting. After four hours of speeches, from the floor by paid-up members, a vote was held. Members could change their vote up until the close of voting, so Piggins could have arrived with proxies for more than 25 per cent but if people were swayed by the arguments, they could change their vote. Leaving him and his wife Nolene (a witness to the counting) to hand in 25 per cent in proxies, but ''change of votes proxies'' reduced them to the 24.2 per cent they got.
After the vote, held by KPMG and lawyers, Piggins sued to overturn the vote, delaying the change of control for three months. Afterwards, George and Noelene called their friends to check how people voted and, given nobody would want to hurt their feelings and tell them they changed their vote, it looked like they should have won. If the ''No'' option had got 16 more votes, would the Rabbitohs have been celebrating reaching 22,000 members on the same day as George's letter was put out?
Crowe and Holmes a Court have put $10 million into the club to get it where it is today.
Pappas and the board have delivered the '' big end of town'' that Piggins talks about. Souths' jersey sponsorship has the highest value in the game. It's worth noting that the leagues club was placed in administration before the takeover by Piggins. It hadn't contributed one cent to the club for more than 30 years - the football club had propped it up. Souths' turnover is now $17m compared with $8.5m when Piggins was chairman. Souths have a state-of-the-art training centre that cost $22m as well as new office premises.
Souths' sponsorship has grown from $3m to $6m. Souths have made a profit for the past four years. This has been achieved without leagues club funding.
Tomic needs to be like Stosur
Pat Rafter will be judging how good people look in Bonds undies this week. ''Hopefully I'll be looking at the girls,'' he said. ''It's part of a launch for undies that don't rise up and give you a wedgie.'' He says he is looking forward to watching the US Open - and cant wait to see Sam Stosur defend her title. He bristles at talk that she folds under pressure. ''Sam is not like that. She reminds me of me as a player. Not the most gifted, just someone who works their butt off to get to a place that so many more talented players can get to easily,'' he said. ''Like me, she is making the most of her ability. People want her to win at Wimbledon, but that is not going to happen. Grass is not and won't be her surface.'' He says Bernard Tomic should learn from Stosur's work ethic. ''I think the kid is a top-10 player when he gets his workload up,'' he said. ''The hard work gives you confidence and he needs to know he's done the work. He is still not ready to win the US Open, but when he makes those adjustments he will be a real chance.''
Salary cap stress
THE Roosters are yet to get Sonny Bill Williams's signature on a contract, despite being keen for him to sign for two years. But they are also fearful that the world's biggest rugby star has made up his mind to return to the All Blacks in 2015. The Roosters want him at the club for the rest of his career. The truth is that if Williams and his agent Khoder Nasser did not have such a high opinion of Nick Politis, SBW would not be back in the NRL. The deal is costing him serious cash because of the NRL salary cap.
ROBBIE FARAH'S Mates on a Mission charity raised $70,000 for kids with heart issues and Farah showed what a decent man he is by fronting on the night straight after playing the Dragons. He was grateful that Benji Marshall covered for him at the post-match interviews to allow him to get to the event. But special mention should be made of Phil Gould, who hosted the night. The entertainers were all paid, but Gould refused. "I asked my manager Sam Ayoub to approach Gus about paying him because it was fair," Farah said. But there was no way he'd take a cent. "Gus is a quality person and when we offered him a fee he just said he had enough jobs." Gould did a great job - the highlight when he made the room stand, hold hands and say a prayer - that the Panthers would not get the wooden spoon.
ONE of sports' great school competitions is under threat. The future of the Australian rugby league schoolboy cup is in jeopardy after the NRL responded to a complaint in regards to ground signage. The broadcast of games in the GIO Schoolboy Cup has been suspended because of the concern expressed over students playing on fields with the Bundaberg Rum logo. The games are always scheduled to coincide with Channel Nine's Friday night games and the ground signage is prepared early in the day. The comp has been running since 1975 and greats such as Peter Sterling, Greg Alexander, Ben Elias, Benji Marshall and, more recently, Adam Reynolds have been players of the year. Nine and the QRL have come to the rescue by agreeing to record the semi-finals today at North Ipswich reserve, but it has been quite an exercise to arrange three Sydney schools to fly north and join Marshall's old school, Keebra Park, in the final four. The final will go ahead after Nine again worked out arrangements with the NSWRL and QRL. However, the future of the comp (in whatever broadcast rights deal) looks bleak if a solution to the Friday dilemma can't be found.
Wallabies zero in
THE Wallabies must have a zero-alcohol-reading expectation at recovery sessions the day after a game. Three players are selected to do a breath test - team management uses a bingo tuner to pop out their numbers. They used to use a deck of cards with players' faces on them to determine who would be tested.
Daley gets serious
LAURIE DALEY is dead keen about his application for the Blues' top job - so much so that he has asked Fox Sports to supply him with a letter stating that they will let him out of his deal to do it. The package to coach the Blues is worth $400,000 a year - comparable to what Daley could make in his Fox Sports job.
Bad break for Moses
ARGUABLY the best schoolboy league player in the country, Mitchell Moses (Ben Elias's nephew), broke his leg at training during the week. After representing the Australian Schoolboys, he was due to play fullback for Holy Cross College Ryde today in the GIO Schoolboy Cup semi-finals. The Tigers have a huge opinion of him.
New blood required
IT WOULD be stunning if the ARL Commission even considers an NRL boss to replace David Gallop, no matter how good they are. They would have to deal with the inference that they could favour the team they were once being paid by. And don't forget that all CEOs now have to sign declarations saying that everything they have done when it comes to the salary cap is above board.
WHICH Wallabies star was threatened with the sack if he did a media appearance during the week? More on this in coming weeks.
STEVE KEARNEY has been linked to the Warriors job and he has already started sounding out staff to help him in the gig. The recently sacked Parramatta coach is trying to poach officials from Sydney teams to take with him to Auckland.
State of dysfunction
THE Origin Legends have been in the news in a big way since the NSWRL decided to distance itself from them. The former chairman of the group, Phil Sigsworth, is fuming about the way he was removed from his position. "I was dumped and it was by stealth," he said. "The AGM was not held properly, in my eyes, along the guidelines that an AGM is supposed to be held.'' Sigsworth delivered a range of documents to the NSWRL on Thursday and he wants questions answered. "The group is not being run the way I think it should be." There is no doubt that the group is dysfunctional - its head, Chris Anderson, apparently doesn't get along with one of the key figures in the group.