Crowe call for Rabbitohs
SOUTH Sydney training has been pretty funky at times in recent years, with co-owner Russell Crowe taking a hands-on approach with the NRL club.
Ten-pin bowling, bike rides and a fly-on-the-wall documentary were all part of being one of Crowe’s glamorous Rabbitohs under youthful ex-coach Jason Taylor.
Distracting or not for the players, it seems that won’t change under new mentor – and NRL veteran – John Lang.
The Rabbitohs are in Coffs Harbour this week, close to Crowe’s Nana Glen property, to prepare for Saturday’s trial against the Gold Coast at the BCU International Stadium.
And Crowe’s planning some pre-season surprises for the players, who include recruits Dave Taylor and Sam Burgess, the Englishman Crowe lured to Redfern after inviting him to the shoot of the film Robin Hood. “Russell’s doing a couple of things up here this week and I think all those things are good,” Lang said. “If everything’s coming from the same voice then I think people get sick of that voice.
“It’s good to be up here and to be able to do something different; you’ve got to work hard but if you just keep pounding away at the same things it can get monotonous as well.”
Lang said Crowe’s approach helped take the pressure off the head coach, something the club had tried to do when the former Cronulla and Penrith boss was originally appointed to help coach Taylor.
“One thing we’ve tried to do here is take a bit of a load from being the head coach and I’m now benefiting from that,” Lang said.
“Part of my job with JT was to take away as many of the non-core parts of the head coach’s job and (football manager) Mark Ellison’s now doing that for me so, whether it is coming up with different things to stimulate the players or whatever, it’s a team effort.”
As to what Crowe has in mind for this week, Lang said he was in the dark.
“We’ll find out as the week progresses,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lang is hopeful forward Taylor will play in Saturday’s trial after an ankle injury kept the former Brisbane giant out of last weekend’s All Stars match.
“He said it feels really good so hopefully he’ll play this week but obviously we won’t be taking any risks with it at this stage of the year,” the coach said.
Five-eighth John Sutton (neck) is expected to get 40 minutes against the Titans, while halfback Chris Sandow should also get a run after overcoming an off-season Achilles problem.