Coup for axemen
By MITCHELL DALE
RUSSELL Crowe is set to pull off another major coup for Orara Valley by luring former South Sydney hooker Jason Death out of retirement to strap on the boots for the Axemen next year.
After flying ex-Australia prop Mark Carroll to and from Orara Valley matches in 2003, Crowe is poised to do the same for Death, an 11-season NRL veteran.
"I'm coming up for the sevens with Spud (Carroll) and then we'll assess how we go from there," Death said.
"I haven't signed anything as yet, but I have spoken to Russell and he said he would put something together.
"I wouldn't mind playing again but I don't want to play in the NRL, I would love to play up there.
"Russell asked me to move up there, but I have just started a new job which has a lot of potential, plus my wife is having another baby in May.
"But I said I'd like to play, so he is going to put something together."
That 'something' is likely to be a plane trip to and from Axemen games every weekend.
Death said the fact Crowe is involved is a major incentive.
"Russell was such a champion when I was at Souths, taking us out to dinner and up there for a training camp," Death said.
"He is a true gentleman, so having him involved is a big positive."
Carroll proved a big hit with for the Axemen and football fans across the Mid North Coast during his stint in 2003.
Orara boasted massive gate takings and most other Group 2 clubs had their biggest crowd of season when they hosted Orara with Carroll in the side.
While Carroll was a hit with the fans, they also left an impression on him.
"I'm really glad I went up there to get some closure on my footy career and played with Orara Valley," Carroll said last month.
While Death, a former Canberra, North Queensland, NZ Warriors and Souths rake, may not be the same drawcard as Carroll, he will certainly provide spark and brains around the ruck.
Orara president Kevin Elks was reluctant to comment on the issue, but said the club would welcome a player of Death's experience.
"At this stage I don't know much about it except that Russell has spoken to him," Elks said.
"But I will probably talk to him when he is up here for the sevens and we will know a bit more then."