Athletes told to fake it
ATHLETES presented to the crowd at Stadium Australia last Saturday night were
forced to lie about team allegiances and are none too happy about it. The
entertainment organisers needed to match up a high-profile athlete with each
team in the NRL and in many cases simply told athletes ?il,10l,6p which team
they had to "support". Miles Stewart has Manly supporter's gear in his house,
but was told he was to accompany Ian Roberts on stage and give a video testimony
that he was a Cowboys fan. Athlete Louise McPaul is a Steelers fan but was made
to support the Eels on the night. Triathlete Nici Andronicus, a Manly fan, was
drafted to arch rivals Norths. Chris McCormack is an ardent Cronulla supporter,
but was told to back the Warriors. And so on.
GET set for the Nova Swatch. A watch boasting the artwork of Nova
Peris-Kneebone will be launched worldwide on March 30.
WE have heard that local promoters of the big soccer game between Australia
and the FIFA world stars are claiming megastar Ronaldo wants to play for the
world team. Ronaldo needs a clearance from his club Inter Milan, though
Christian Vieri, the former Sydney boy who played for Italy in the World Cup, is
a more likely candidate to play.
SOLOMON Haumono's former girlfriend, Gabrielle Richens, is trying her
darndest to meet Tom Cruise. It seems Richens is keen on an acting career and is
sure to use tapes of The Footy Show as reference material. Who knows, Cruise
may prefer the acting ability of Fatty, Sterlo and Blocker.
LITTLE wonder Tongan representative Uili Fukofuka was the source of great
embarrassment at the recent International Rugby League Board meeting. Nobody
could pronounce his first name.
Channel 9's Olympic ambush
CHANNEL 7 executives are fuming about Channel 9's Olympic ambush. It was
Channel 9 that broke the story about the look of the torch for the Sydney 2000
Games, a story Seven would have expected to be given because it paid a massive
amount for the Olympic rights. Insiders say Seven missed the story because of
Graham Richardson's connection with Olympics Minister Michael Knight, with
Richardson's close ties to the Kerry Packer-owned station being well documented.
To make matters worse for Seven, the official Olympic ticket sellers, Mark
Taylor, Michael Klim and Susie O'Neill, are all Channel 9 identities. Channel 9
is laughing all the way to the bank as it gets great mileage out of the Olympic
rings without having had to pay a cent for them.
Signs of a thaw
SAM Riley and Norwegian speed-skating hero Johann Koss are trying hard to
sort out the problems plaguing their relationship. Their wedding has already
been delayed and no date has been fixed for any union. But while swimming
insiders say the nuptials are definitely off, Koss is in the country at present
and apparently living in the same house as Riley. Stay tuned.
WE told you recently of the split between ironwoman Linda Halfweeg and
ironman Nathan Meyer. Now Halfweeg has been incorrectly linked with fellow
athlete Ky Hurst. The pair, who have been friends for more than 10 years, are
training together, that's all. Hurst is far more interested in a Melbourne model
called "Kinga". Wallaby Ben Tune has always been a huge Halfweeg admirer, but
is in a relationship.
Brooks' soft side
NEIL Brooks has been busy during his time away from television after a series
of boofheaded comments in a men's magazine. Brooks has been consoling TV star
Teresa Livingstone, who has just broken up with her long-term man and who has
been living in Brooks' Watsons Bay abode. Rumours were still dancing around late
last week that he wouldn't return to Channel 7, though if he does appear as
scheduled tomorrow night we will see a Brooks slimmed down by a Queensland
health retreat, reports say.
Just smile and say cheese, Nicole
FORMER Channel 9 celebrity Greg Ritchie jeopardised his job with the network
after a couple of mid-air shockers. Nicole Stevenson, who presents Wide World of
Sports, had her own mid-air tiff last week. Faced with flying to Melbourne and
back in one morning, Stevenson was a little on edge. She put her newspaper under
her seat and it was pinched by a fellow passenger. "Excuse me, but that's
mine," she told him. To make up for her inconvenience, the paper pincher gave
her a Big Mac voucher. It turns out the culprit was Charlie Bell, the Australian
chief of McDonald's.
Don Bradman too ill for cheer
IN a week when American sports fans are mourning the death of legendary
baseball player Joe DiMaggio, it saddened us to hear Sir Donald Bradman isn't
well enough to record a message for a reunion of the 1948 Invincibles. The
lunch, at the Sydney Football Stadium on March 25, will bring together a number
of the Invincibles, possibly for the last time. Neil Harvey, Arthur Morris, Bill
Johnson and Sam Loxton have confirmed they will be there on the big day. A
bronze bust of Bradman will be auctioned to raise money for Westmead Hospital.
Ritson at work
LEAGUE fans will be pleased to know Adam Ritson has started work. He has a
job at Peter Wynn's Parramatta sports store and apparently is glad to be out and
SUSIE O'Neill's profile continues to soar. Her management has just upped her
corporate appearance fee to $10,000 from $7,500. Wallaby skipper John Eales also
raised his price for speaking to $5,000 from $3,500. Eales has more than 100
requests in front of him so his bank account won't suffer because of his
shoulder injury. O'Neill this week picks up the cosmic blue convertible that
manager Rob Woodhouse promised for breaking a world record.
LEGENDARY swimmer Dawn Fraser has moved out of her Balmain home while she
awaits council approval for renovations. Fraser is living at Malabar with a
friend of her daughter. Meanwhile, daughter Dawn Lorraine is recovering well
from a neck operation.
THE most unusual rugby league injury of the first round belongs to Sydney
City forward Justin Dooley. He dislocated his partially amputated ring finger
and, because he only has a stump, it proved impossible to put back in place. The
man attempting the fix, trainer Ron Palmer, has a similar digit.
In the wings
SPECULATION continues about the future of Ryan Cross. The ARU's interest in
him hasn't diminished even though he signed a long-term deal with Sydney City.
While Cross hasn't cracked first grade, you can bet he would be in the NSW
Waratahs squad. If he isn't a regular top-liner soon, there may be a blow-up.