PENRITH halfback Nathan Cleary attracts attention when he runs out against South Sydney with a band-aid bang between his eyes.
It soon emerges that a scratch on Cleary's forehead became infected during the week and he spent a night in hospital leading up to tonight's game, attached to an intravenous drip.
Of course, the best thing you can do for a blood infection is run around a footy field for 80 minutes, and young Nathan's melon seems to be expanding exponentially by the minute.
By midway through the second half, he's looking a bit like the Elephant Man and has to retreat 15 metres for every tackle in defence, simply to keep his forehead on-side.
League Immortal Andrew Johns offers some sage advice from the commentary box: "Don't pick your zits, kids."
Cleary's swollen scone doesn't seem to affect his performance and he seals a man-of-the-match display with a try on full-time.
It's just as well he can still play footy, because his career as a TikTok dancer/model appears to be over.
KANGAROOS coach Mal Meninga is spruiking a historic clash with the New Zealand All Blacks in an unprecedented blockbuster that would deliver a financial motza for both codes.
"We are in serious negotiations," Mal says.
"We are still in talks but obviously news of this has got out. Of any year that is available, this is the year to make it happen with everything that has happened with the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's in the infancy stages, but if it did become a reality, it would be exciting.
"This is history in the making ... who knows where we could take the games of rugby and rugby league?"
Apparently the New Zealand Rugby Union are just as keen on the proposed clash, which would feature 14 players a team, merged rules and be played on December 5.
I'm not so sure this is a good idea. I mean the All Blacks are good enough to win this, and then the rah-rahs would never let us hear the end of it.
I reckon a better plan is for the Kangaroos to play the Wallabies. We could safely chalk that up as a victory for the greatest game of all.
IT'S been a tough couple of weeks for Raiders ranga Corey Horsburgh.
He's only just recovered from a nasty bout of the up-and-unders after eating a couple of lime green snags when he suffers a foot injury in Canberra's loss to the Eels.
Overcome with emotion as he limps off, the big fella exchanges words with rival Parramatta forwards.
He then flips the bird at the crowd ... the real fans in the stadium, you would assume, and not the cardboard cut-outs.
Brisbane players wouldn't be game to do likewise after copping a 30-12 shellacking from the lowly Gold Coast Titans.
The late, great Jack Gibson once said of the Lang Park crowd: "They'd boo Santa Claus, this mob."
Given that Santa Claus is isolating with his elves and reindeer in the North Pole, the 6262 XXXX-heads in attendance instead boo the Broncos off at half-time, at which point the scoreboard reads 22-0. Perhaps the Broncos might be better off returning to play behind closed doors.
SOUTH Sydney CEO Blake Solly pulls no punches when asked for his opinion of the proposed Kangaroos v All Blacks extravaganza.
"The whole concept is a farce," Solly fumes.
"Are we really going to let the All Blacks use the Kangaroos so they can make some money and screw rugby league over in New Zealand even more? I can't believe we're even considering this ... I'm so fired up about it.
"It's a ludicrous concept that gets thrown up every couple of years as a way of making a cheap buck. It's a complete brain fart."
Solly is entitled to his opinion, of course. But I wonder it he would be so keen to voice it if big Mal was standing in front of him?
One fan of the concept is the Old Fox of Redfern, who declares: "I would absolutely love to be involved in this.
"An All Blacks-Kangaroos game is the best idea I've heard in so long ... this is a no-brainer. This concept is a stroke of genius."
Benny is presumably in the process of sending an invoice, having read that big Mal wants him on the coaching staff.
NEWS breaks that the Warriors' head coaching job is Craig Fitzgibbon's ... if the Sydney Roosters assistant wants it.
The only issue is that the Warriors have left a dozen voicemails and are yet to hear back from Fitzy. Perhaps his phone's battery is flat?
RUMOURS surface that club legend Benji Marshall wants out of the Tigers after being punted from the top team.
The Warriors are understood to be keen to sign him up as captain-coach ... but can't get past his voicemail.
THE Old Fox fires up over claims that the rabble the Broncos have become is partly his fault.
"If the roster was so bad, why would Anthony Seibold take the job?" he asks. "No coach, particularly a young one, would take a job with an inferior roster to the one he is leaving. You just don't do that."
Then again, when Benny decided to leave St George Illawarra in mid-2011 to sign for the Knights, the Dragons were the reigning premiers and Newcastle were also-rans.
At the time, he insisted it was all about "the challenge". Funnily enough, he abruptly lost interest in "the challenge" about the same time Nathan Tinkler's cash ran out.