Manly wanted brawl review boss off the case

Now that the biggest judiciary case in NRL history is finally over, Sin Bin can reveal Manly officials wanted NRL match review chief Greg McCallum removed from the case. Sea Eagles officials raised concerns about a series of media interviews McCallum did last Saturday, but the NRL felt that the long-serving official and former grand final referee had said nothing that would prejudice his role in the case and backed him to lead the review of last Friday night's brawl at Brookvale Oval. McCallum's involvement was just one of a number of issues on which Manly and the NRL disagreed, with NRL officials understood to have been dismayed that Glenn Stewart had not pleaded guilty before his initial judiciary appearance on Wednesday night. Sin Bin was also told that Manly officials believed a former Sea Eagles player should have been on the judiciary panel.


The fall-out from the case continued yesterday when long-serving Manly media manager Peter Peters was stood down for sexist comments he made to Sky News reporter Megan Barnard after Wednesday night's hearing. Peters apologised to Barnard after twice intervening when she tried to ask Glenn Stewart a question to say: ''You're a good sort''.


Penrith and NSW centre Michael Jennings was left bemused after a fake press release announcing his signing with Salford began circulating on the internet. Jennings's Wikipedia page was also fixed to read: ''Michael Joseph 'Jenko' Jennings (born 20 April 1988 in Blacktown, NSW) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer for the Salford City Reds of the Super League. He has signed with the Reds but is waiting on approval of his passport to allow him to play in the UK''. A press release followed quoting Salford director of rugby, Steve Simms, as saying: ''Michael hasn't been having a great season in Australia and wanted a fresh start. Michael believes joining the Reds can give him time away from Australia and further develop his career''. Jennings yesterday told Sin Bin he had seen fans tweeting about his bogus three-year deal. ''I just laughed because I have signed here for five years,'' Jennings said.


NSW Cup referee Michael Laverty had a novel reason for stopping play in last weekend's Newtown-Canterbury match at Henson Park. ''I've swallowed a fly,'' Laverty told players.


In a week dominated by headlines about last Friday night's ugly brawl at Brookvale, two good deeds deserved to outshine the negative publicity - the care shown by Billy Slater for David Williams after the Manly winger fractured his neck and a group of Sea Eagles, Parramatta, Canterbury and Penrith players taking up a bucket collection at Campbelltown Stadium on Monday night for the family of the 11 people killed in the tragic house fire in Brisbane. The players, including Jarryd Hayne, Will Hopoate, Ben Roberts, Mickey Paea, Junior Tia-Kilifi, Frank Puletua, Joseph Paulo and Pele Peletelese, spent two hours mingling with fans and collecting money before the kick-off and then took up another bucket collection at half-time. Hopoate and the other Manly players, Joe Galuvao, Tony Williams and Junior Palau, drove up to three hours there and back to take part in the appeal, which was organised by Nigel Vagana. Home and Away star Jay Laga'aia and Fox Sports reporter Melinda Farrell also helped. They raised more than $7500. Canterbury prop Sam Kasiano estimated to have had about $1000 in his bucket.


More off-field changes at Parramatta, with three members of the club's Toyota Cup staff told they would no longer be required. However, under-20s coach Matt Cameron will remain with the Eels unless he gains the vacant Hull Kingston Rovers job, and will work as an assistant to Stephen Kearney and run a new junior academy being set up for next season. Former junior representative coach Steve Speechley will take charge of the under-20s next year. Cameron is contracted to Parramatta for two more years but the Eels will not stand in his way if he is offered a head coaching role elsewhere. The 42-year-old should know within weeks if he has the Hull KR job, with its chairman Neil Hudgell and vice-president Rob Crossland flying to Australia to conduct interviews this month. Also on their shortlist is sacked Canterbury coach Kevin Moore and South Sydney assistant Kurt Wrigley. Meanwhile, former St Helens and Wigan coach Ian Millward, who was Wests Tigers's first choice in 2002 before Craig Bellamy and Tim Sheens and was runner-up to Wayne Bennett for the St George Illawarra job in 2009, will return to Super League after being given charge of Castleford next season.