ThursdayDRUGS, booze, infidelity, revenge porn, domestic violence, match-fixing, mutineers storming the corridors of power … ho hum. Another rugby league off-season has come and gone without incident.
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Well, almost.

In a world exclusive, Seven Days can reveal the two major dramas that somehow escaped saturation media coverage.

The first is the phone call we receive, from a loyal Herald reader (God bless him), informing us he has just heard a radio news bulletin declaring that star Knights recruit Kalyn Ponga has signed to play in Korea.

Now there’s a scoop.

To borrow a line from Gus Gould … wow.

Not just that young KP had reneged on his deal with the Knights, but that the NRL is expanding into a whole new market where, as far as we’re aware, nobody has even heard of rugby league.

We suspect it’s a false alarm. On the same day that we receive this hot tip, the Newcastle Jets reveal recently signed Dimitri Petratos is on his way to Ulsan Hyundai FC.

Ponga, Petratos … easy enough mistake to make.

In an even more stunning revelation, my trademark weekly abusive, uninvited, hand-written letter from the Maitland Maniac culminates in the following outburst:”I have no respect left for you whatsoever as a sports journalist … this is THE last missive to you, a—hole.”

After years of expletive-laden, demented dribble, the Maniac has apparently hung up his poison pen. So far he’s been as good as his word, but it shouldn’t be too hard to lure him out of his dark, dingy lair.

All it will take is the following predictions: Canterbury to finish with the 2017 wooden spoon, and David Warner to be dropped before the end of the series in India.

I’d like to think Australia Post will pay me some sort of commission.

FridayOLD-timers swear that rugby league was a better game before the interchange rule was introduced, but I find myself pondering this logic as I reflect on events overnight in Pune, India.

In his first Test on the sub-continent, Aussie opener Matt Renshaw dramatically retires “ill” before making a frantic dash to the dunny.

“When you’ve gotta go to the toilet, you’ve gotta go to the toilet,” he explains afterwards.

Indeed you do.

But what about back in rugby league’s golden era, pre 1963, before the rules changed to allow teams to make two injury replacements? What would have happened if, on his first hit-up of the game, a big, fat prop at full velocity had copped a shoulder fair in the midriff, forcing an involuntary bodily function?

He would have played on, that’s what. Without so much as a second thought.

SaturdayTHIS is surely an Academy Award-winning movie in the making.

After more than 25 years in mothballs, arguably the most famous Real NRL club of them all, the once-mighty North Newcastle Bluebags, announce they are staging a resurrection.

And who is to be cast in the lead role? None other than inaugural Knights skipper Sam Stewart, aged 54. Fair dinkum, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

All they need now is Tina Turner belting out “Simply The Best” as Slammin’ Sam leads them out on the field for their first game.

The only issue for the Bluebags at the moment is securing a home ground. Apparently McDonald Jones Stadium – or the ISC, as Sammy still knows it – is the best available option, but it might not be big enough.

SundayADDING weight to the theory that fact really is stranger than fiction, news surfaces of an unusual interchange looming in the south of France.

Former Wallaby and boy-band wannabe James O’Connor is facing a stint in the doghouse with his club side, Toulon, after getting arrested trying to buy cocaine.

There is speculation that while he serves his penance, his replacement is likely to be rugby league convert Ben Barba … no stranger to a touch of white-line fever himself. Toulon are hopeful both players can eventually feature in the same backline, providing they keep their noses clean.

Meanwhile, rumours surface that former AFL star Ben Cousins is pondering a shock move to French rugby.

Monday HOLLYWOOD SCRIPT: Knights legend Sam Stewart is planning a comeback for no-longer-defunct North Newcastle Bluebags.

I read with interest that former Knights winger James McManus has filed alawsuit against the club over his career-ending concussions. The club who still employ him, that is.

Hmm …awkward.

Apparently the Flying Scotsman is suing not only the current Knights, but also the former entity owned by billionaire-cum-bankrupt Nathan Tinkler. Can’t say I like his chances of getting 10 cents out of Tinks. Plenty have tried and failed. He’d be better off buying a scratch lottery ticket.

TuesdayTwas the week before Christmas – sorry, season kick-off – and that means it’s time to chase up the Herald tipsters.

In a devastating blow, it appears as if glamours Tegan Martin andCatherine Britt might not be available for selection.

At least we’ll have James Gardiner, who might not be a good sort but can certainly carry on like one.

In the first omen bet of the year, ABC guru Craig Hamilton tips the Warriors, then changes ship and jumps aboard the Knights.

I applaud his bold selection. Then again, Knights legend Tony Butterfield bravely tipped his old club in every game last year, and not surprisingly joined them in collecting the wooden spoon.

WednesdaySO here we are, one sleep before greatest game of all is again under way.

Before we know it, the last week in September will have arrived and we’ll be getting ready to cheer for the Knights in the grand final.

Between now and then, I can’t guarantee that I’ll make you laugh so hard you’ll Matt Renshaw yourself.

But I’ll give it my best shot.

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