IT'S been a big few weeks of celebration for her majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the world rejoices in her 70 years on the throne.
But undoubtedly the highlight for HRH has been sharing a cucumber sandwich with the one person on earth who is even more revered than she is, ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys.
The man who saved rugba league from bankruptcy by thwarting Bubonic Plague is in the Old Dart for the Royal Ascot racing carnival and pops in for a chat and a bite to eat at Windsor Castle.
As you do.
"The Queen and I spoke about a wide range of topics from racing to politics," V'landys reveals afterwards.
"She's extremely knowledgeable and takes an interest in what you are saying."
Seven Days understands that her majesty is a huge fan of the six-again rule change and reckons V'landys will kill it in his new role as chairman of selectors for the Kangaroos.
PARRAMATTA reveal they have given former NSW Origin forward Nathan Brown permission to negotiate with rival NRL clubs, even though he has 18 months left to run on his contract.
The Eels informed Brown earlier in the week they could not guarantee there would be space for him under the club's tight salary cap beyond 2023.
"We've worked hard to put a squad together but we're not the only club," Eels coach Brad Arthur says.
"There's no, he wants to go, we're trying to push him out, or any of that. He's just trying to secure his future past 2023. It's just what it is.
"It's not a sport anymore, it's a business."
Fair enough, but this is terrible timing.
If the Eels had made this decision a month ago, it might have given Nathan Brown, the Warriors coach, a chance to sign Nathan Brown, the fiery forward.
Now one of the Nathan Browns is unemployed and the other could end up working for any Tom, Dick or Harry.
What a shame. It's a chance gone begging.
ON the subject of namesakes, I Google up "Mark Sargent" to ascertain how many games the former Kangaroos prop played for Canterbury before joining his home-town club to become a Knights legend.
(The answer, for the record, is 19).
Anyway, what surprises me is that the top Mark Sargent on the hit list is some bloke who, according to Wikipedia, is "one of the leading proponents of, and recruiters for, the flat-Earth conspiracy theory in the United States".
Apparently the American Mark Sargent believes the world is a flat disc with a giant wall of ice around the circumference. He reckons governments have been lying about it for decades.
He also believes in the existence of Bigfoot.
Newcastle's Mark Sargent, who holds a PhD in public policy and has lectured at Newcastle University, has never struck me as the type to suffer fools gladly.
I can't imagine for one second that he would subscribe to the bollocks this American fruitcake is spruiking.
THERE is a poignant moment at Canberra Stadium when Raiders forward Hudson Young makes a tackle on Newcastle winger Dominic Young.
It gets me thinking: imagine if they were to join forces and sign for the Young Cherrypickers in the Group Nine competition. North Queensland assistant coach Dean Young would be a natural choice to take the reins.
It's just a random thought.
Meanwhile, a heroic performance from Knights captain Kalyn Ponga is in vain as his team are pipped at the post, 20-18.
Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien reveals after the game that KP has hardly been able to eat for days after a stomach virus.
"He's just gassed at the moment," O'Brien says. "Literally."
There are plenty of Knights fans who subscribe to the theory that the sun shines out of Ponga's backside, but today it seems to have been obscured by a murky haze.
FORMER Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is forced to hand over the reins of the Lebanon rugby league team, who are due to play Malta this weekend, after flight cancellations leave him stranded in Argentina.
It was to have been Cheika's first head-coaching gig in the 13-man code, and he has previously declared an interest in one day taking charge of an NRL club.
"I'll never be an absolute technician in that game, but I'll always be able to have a people next to me who will be," he said last year.
It raises the prospect of Cheika potentially become the first code-crossing head coach since Alan Jones at Balmain 30-odd years ago.
I don't recall Jonesy winning too many games, although it's fair to say nobody has combined an orange-and-black tracksuit and a crevat with such style.
BRISBANE'S Courier-Mail newspaper labels Liam Martin the Blues' "villain" after a series of allegedly "feral plays" in Origin I.
Queensland's Harry Grant produces a neat sidestep when asked if Martin is a "grub", replying: "I don't actually know what you're talking about. I thought the grubbiest player just had to be Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, because he never showers."
THE Knights confirm forward Jirah Momoisea has signed with Parramatta.
I notice on Momoisea's player profile that his nickname is "Jig" - the same as deputy Seven Days correspondent James Gardiner.
Our Jig was formerly known for many years as "Jamstring", or "String", after an unfortunate (and rare) typo. Let's hope Jirah never strains his jammy.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.