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4 days ago
It has been a tough week for Paul 'Fatty' Vautin with the former Queensland Origin and Kangaroo forward due to publicly apologise on Channel Nine's The Footy Show to epileptic Greg Stacey, a hotel bouncer who later threatened legal action.
Last week, Vautin slipped up on-air in stating that Stacey appeared "blind" drunk while being interviewed at Brisbane's Caxton Hotel on State of Origin night. It was later revealed that Stacey's words were slurred due to his disability.
The media controversy reached new levels when on Monday, Vautin's older brother Geoffrey, who had Down syndrome, passed away. The tragedy came just 48 hours after Vautin brought up his brother's condition, explaining how he would never knowingly insult a disabled person.
The family of bouncer Greg Stacey extended condolences to the Vautins, but then confirmed they be pushing ahead with legal action against The Footy Show presenter.
Meanwhile, Manly Sea Eagles legend Steve 'Beaver' Menzies has announced he will retire from the NRL after this season. A prolific try-scorer in the forwards, the 34-year-old often switched to the centres during a staggering 16 seasons of first grade rugby league.
Menzies is tipped to play a final season in England before finally hanging up the boots.
In the Sea Eagles junior ranks, 15-year-old William Hopoate has created history by signing a $300,000 contract with Manly, the largest ever offered to a schoolboy.
The son of former NRL bad boy John Hopoate, William agreed to a three-year deal yesterday.
In other news, future St George Illawarra Dragons coach Wayne Bennett has effectively shown Jason Ryles the door, paving the way for the Australian and New South Wales prop to look elsewhere.
Ryles has been talking with the Sharks, but salary cap restrictions have hampered negotiations as the Cronulla club look for ways to offload forward Ben Ross.
Ryles' manager George Mimis has also been negotiating with French club Catalans and two clubs in England. The news gained momentum yesterday when the European Super League voted to expand its competition from 12 to 14 teams in 2009, opening up a potential cash expenditure of $10MIL towards an additional eight player imports.
Meanwhile Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen is out for the season after being reportedly sidelined for six to nine months.
Bowen must undergo more surgery following a knee injury suffered early this season. He will go under the knife next month.
In what has been described as a ground-breaking procedure, Bowen's cartilage was harvested from his knee and has been growing on an artificial matrix in Perth, and will be used to repair the joint.