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Banking on Burt

Author: Danny Weidler
Date: 12/07/1998
Words: 442
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 96
FORGET George Piggins and Alan Jones, movie star Burt Reynolds holds the key to the future of South Sydney.

Reynolds, who recently re-launched his career in the film Boogie Nights, where he starred as a pornographic film-maker, is looming as a major player in the resurrection of the Rabbitohs.

Yes folks, we're serious.

Reynolds is the American "hand of God" for Souths, who hope to get a snip of some of billionaire media mogul Ted Turner's fortune.

The Rabbits sent one letter requesting help from Turner, the arch-rival of News Ltd boss Rupert Murdoch, at the start of the season. He didn't reply. Now they are trying to use Reynolds, who is good friends with celebrity Souths fan and actor Russell Crowe, to reach Turner.

While Reynolds didn't attend a raucous bonding night out with Crowe and the Souths team earlier this year, the American actor has spent time in Australia with Crowe, who tried to pass on the legend of Souths.

Reynolds, in turn, is good mates with actress Jane Fonda, who is Ted Turner's wife.

"It is a bit of a long shot, I'll admit that," said Souths football manager Frank Cookson.

"But something that is in our favour is that Turner is enemies with Rupert Murdoch.

"We want to state our case and tell him what Murdoch has done to our game and our club. Maybe that way we could get a start.

"We know that Turner gives millions to charity each year. Maybe he can look at our situation and put something towards Souths.

"Stranger things have happened."

Souths will even consider fielding an American football player in their lineup if Turner comes through.

"A barrister rang me today and said that Americans relate to American things," Cookson said.

"If he wanted us to field a gridiron player, we would.

"I think we might have a hope of getting in touch with him if Burt Reynolds helps us out. Without him we are at long odds to even have our case heard."

Radio announcer and former Souths football manager Alan Jones is another to lend his support. Cookson and Jones don't see eye to eye on footballing matters and Jones has criticised Cookson on his radio show.

"I'm prepared to live with that," said Cookson. "I don't really listen to radio in the morning. I usually watch the Today show.

"I don't know how much Alan Jones knows about rugby league, but he did a terrific job with the marketing of the club. He has also done a lot for individuals at the club. Look at Darrell Trindall.

"He can open doors and we need that."

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