MICHAEL Maguire's reputation as a hard taskmaster is in tatters after he publicly flogs Brookvale absconders Russell Packer and Josh Reynolds with a limp lettuce leaf.
"The boys have acknowledged that leaving was probably not what we are about and we have dealt with that," Maguire says of the revelations that Packer and Reynolds bailed out on their teammates during the half-time break.
Madge notes that the two players in question "are committed to the club", as evidenced by their attendance at previous games as highly paid spectators.
"Russell and Josh travelled three hours on a bus to Newcastle, then three hours back," Maguire says. "We are doing that week in and week out."
It's a fair point. Then again, I'd be happy to sit on a bus 24-7, 365 days a year, if I was getting paid $750,000 per annum.
I can't help wondering if Madge is getting soft in his old age. The again, he might be just a bit wary about making big "Whacker" Packer cranky. I know I would be.
BRONCOS skipper Alex Glenn reveals he hopes to have some say in who the club's new coach will be.
"As a captain I would love to sit down and discuss some options and have a seat at the table where I can voice my opinion on what the team needs ... I would like to voice my opinions about what the playing group would like, the type of coach we would want and I guess the staff around that," Glenn says.
Maybe if Brisbane's captain was Wally Lewis, or Allan Langer or Darren Lockyer the powers-that-be might be interested in picking his brain.
But Alex Glenn? As captain of the worst Brisbane team in history, I'm not sure how much clout he has in the boardroom.
Then again, the Broncos are such a basket case this season maybe there is no harm in letting the lunatics run the asylum. It's not like they could go any worse.
THE return of the mullet to the NRL, the best part of 30-odd years after its heyday, has been a rare highlight of this bubonic plague-cursed season.
The likes of Josh Papalii, Josh Dugan and Andrew Fifita are all sporting the traditional 1980s "do", while Nathan Cleary, Jacob Saifiti and Kalyn Ponga have opted for more subtle, new-millennium mullets.
It's all got me wondering why the mullet fizzled out in the first place. Back in the day, legends like Terry Lamb, Ricky Stuart, Paul Langmack and Kerry Hemsley were style icons with their "business at the front, party at the back" look.
These days, nobody wears it better than Gold Coast forward Jai Arrow. He's deadset jumped out of a time machine with the best mullet since Pat Cash won Wimbledon in 1987.
And apparently there is method in his madness, given that Arrow's girlfriend is former Miss World Australia Taylah Cannon.
Meanwhile, the Chooks hand the Knights a 42-12 reality check at the SCG.
It's a funny old game. Newcastle seem to be playing OK for the most part, only to leak tries every time Luke Keary decides to press the fast-forward button.
It reminds me of a game years ago, when David Waite was coaching the Knights against North Sydney.
"We actually defended very well," Waite said. "Except for five seconds in 80 minutes."
The five seconds being the five times the Bears put the ball over the line in their 34-4 win.
ON the same weekend that Luke Brooks and Dane Gagai are facing suspensions for throwing handbags at each other, the Sunday Telegraph relives a real rugby league brawl - the infamous stink between Newtown and Manly in the 1981 semi-finals series.
It highlights how soft the game has become. I mean, if Gagai had thrown the ball at Steve Bowden's head instead of a little halfback, it would have been the last mistake he ever made.
In other news, sympathy is mounting for Canberra centre Curtis Scott after his acquittal on charges of assaulting police.
Many are disturbed after vision is shown in court of Scott being repeatedly tasered by police.
For some reason I have a sneaking suspicion he won't be the only NRL star on the end of a taser as players prepare to emerge from their biosecurity "bubbles".
CANBERRA veteran Sio Soliola is preparing to make a comeback after being sidelined for months with multiple facial fractures.
It sounds like Soliola has been craving a decent steak for so long it's sent him ga-ga.
"I actually tried to blend KFC," he says. "It was all soft foods so everything had to be blended. I actually had the idea to blend KFC, pizza, a Big Mac or pretty much anything."
Hopefully he didn't try blending any of those dodgy green sausages that gave teammate Corey Horsburgh food poisoning earlier in the season.
THE Member for Honolulu causes outrage when he visits WesTrac, Tomago, and for some reason is presented with a Knights jersey.
How cringeworthy. Everyone knows Scotty from Marketing is a Sharks fan who enjoys loitering in their dressing room after games and celebrating wins with a hot fudge sundae at Engadine McDonald's.
The Old Fox spruiks himself as the ideal Queensland Origin coach should Kevin Walters get the Broncos' gig.
"You want the best players in the team then you want the best coaches available to coach them," says Benny.
I can't help thinking the Fox needs to find himself a hobby. Like bridge, or lawn bowls.