Cleary clutching at straws

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary raised eyebrows by suggesting Bathurst's Carrington Park's heavy track contributed to his side's lacklustre performance in going down to the Sharks last Sunday. Eels great Nathan Hindmarsh spoke out against the claim on the Matty Johns Show and rightly suggested Manly's Brookvale Oval was no better or perhaps worse, yet teams perform there every week -- including the competition leaders.

Lowrie bags Brooky

Former Warriors turned Broncos back-rower Todd Lowrie went one further than Hindmarsh midweek, when he labelled Brookvale Oval a "s***hole". Lowrie said he was surprised teams are made to play on what is often a heavy, muddy and boggy surface, before describing Manly's sheds as "crap" and complaining about how just getting to the ground is a "pain in the arse". Lowrie will no doubt receive a warm welcome from Sea Eagles fans when he runs out on to the old ground with the Broncos tonight.


Tallis v Farah

Was Gorden Tallis really justified in dropping Robbie Farah in it just because someone questioned the source of his line that Michael Potter can't coach? Was his private conversation with the Tigers skipper 15 months ago still relevant and applicable to the club's current situation? How would the Raging Bull have reacted back in his playing days if a journo went public with details of an off-the-record chat? No one would have dared to, I imagine.

Dwyer fundraiser

Past and present NRL players will gather at Wests Leagues club tonight to raise money for former Wests Tigers back-rower Simon Dwyer, who suffered a career-ending injury that has left him all but paralysed in his right arm. Monday night's clash between the Tigers and Storm will also see the NRL donate $5 for every adult ticket and family pass sold. It's hoped more than $100,000 will be raised to help Dwyer fund further rehabilitation surgery.

Ennis cops a spray from JT

Fox Sports' "ref cam" picked up a colourful exchange between Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston and Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis during last Saturday night's match at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Thurston asked the Canterbury hooker, "Where you off to next year, the Sharks?" with the usually talkative Ennis replying rather timidly with, "Yeah, mate." Thurston followed up with another probing question that left Ennis without a comeback: "They don't want you here any more? You going where the money is?"

One-eyed Hiku

Manly wing Peta Hiku, 21, had coach Geoff Toovey and media laughing following their win over the Warriors. When asked what he had made of the contentious first-half call that saw Simon Mannering denied a try after the ball bounced wickedly on the touchline to evade Hiku, the wing smiled and replied, cool as a cucumber: "I remember seeing it hit the line."