SEVEN DAYS: July 3-9

PERSUASIVE: Tariq Sims’s partner and model Ashleigh Sudholz.TODD Carney’s reputation might be mud on the east coast of Australia but on the other side of the Nullarbor, the punters are cheering his name in absolute delight.
Shanghai night field

In remote Pinjarra, a town with a 4255-strong population situated 86kilometres south of Perth, Carney – a three-year-old bay gelding – wins a 1400-metre maiden and delivers a dividend of $5.70.

Apparently Carney wins by three-quarters of a length.

There is surely a double entendre in that, just waiting to be exploited, but it would be in poor taste. A bit like urinating in your own mouth.

THE Knights confirm the NRL’s worst-kept secret by announcing they have signed North Queensland forward Tariq Sims to a two-year deal.

This is a great boost and Seven Days fearlessly predicts Sims will realise his potential in Newcastle and represent NSW and Australia next season.

But there is one aspect of this coup I find slightly confusing.

A number of media outlets have reported that Sims asked the Cows for a release because his partner was ‘‘unsettled’’ in the tropical north and wanted to move nearer to family after the birth of their first child.

It gets me to wondering who wears the pants in this relationship – the big, fiery back-rower or his better half?

A quick trawl through the internet soon solves the mystery, shortly before my computer overheats and short circuits.

Sims’s partner just happens to be Ashleigh Sudholz, the Ralph Australian Swimwear Model of the Year in 2008 and the 2009 Miss Indy winner.

If Ashleigh reckons Newcastle is the best place to work on her suntan, I’m not surprised Tariq agrees with her.

Meanwhile, I read with interest where Robbie Farah declares ‘‘it hurts every time when people say [Cameron Smith] is a better hooker than me’’.

Given Farah apparently rates himself the greatest dummy-half of all time, he is not surprisingly still filthy about suggestions he was lucky to be picked for last year’s World Cup tour ahead of premiership-winning Roosters rake Jake Friend.

‘‘Some people didn’t even think I should have been in the last [Kangaroos] squad,’’ he says. ‘‘Some dickhead journalist in Queensland … I’d love to see him for a couple of minutes on a footy field.’’

Yeah, good one, Robbie.

I’d love to see a dickhead footballer trying to file a 600-word match report within minutes of full-time to meet a Friday-night deadline.

THE hapless Cronulla Sharks defy their basket-case reputation to somehow secure a major sponsor for the rest of this season and possibly next year.

The new backer is a company called Labour Health, whose website claims: ‘‘We implement rigorous substance abuse checks … to ensure your workplace remains alcohol and drug free at all times.’’

Hopefully this will ensure Cronulla players are squeaky clean and nobody makes the mistake of taking horse steroids on the advice of some blow-in sports scientist.

Rumours that the recently unemployed Todd Carney has been offered a job as sample collector – no beaker required – are unable to be verified.

Buoyed by the good news, the Sharks produce their second rope-a-dope stunt in as many weeks to stun the Chooks 30-28.

Following last week’s successful game plan of giving the Broncos a 22-0 head start, Cronulla let the Roosters rack up leads of 24-0 and 28-6 before stiffing them 30-28.

The result is a triumph for James Shepherd, who in the space of a week has upgraded his LinkedIn profile from ‘‘Remondis Stadium security guard’’ to ‘‘NRL super coach’’.

In a triumphant Shire, people rejoice in the streets with a stirring rendition of the time-honoured Psalm: The Shepherd is my Lord.

THE Sunday Telegraph reveals the NRL’s plan to ‘‘clean up the game’s grubby image’’ by appointing at least one female director on every club board.

‘‘The best companies I have worked with have had females at senior and board levels because they bring genuine skills to the table,’’ NRL boss Dave Smith says.

‘‘Having more female representation will also enable clubs to better grow the game.

“We want more women at games, we want more women to play the game – and we recognise that will only occur if we have more women making decisions.’’

Seven Days is 100per cent behind this proposal, and the Knights are the ideal club to test the waters, given that they are still in the process of assembling a new board.

The obvious candidate, in my humble opinion, is our own Jennifer Hawkins.

Glamorous, well connected, an astute businesswoman … and able to fill in at short notice if any of the cheerleaders pull a hamstring.

If our Jen is unavailable, perhaps Ashleigh Sudholz would suffice.

Or why not both?

CRONULLA are becoming so confident in their new guise as the NRL’s miracle men they are boldly eyeing the greatest escape of them all.

Last on the NRL points table after four wins from their first 15 games, the Sharkies reckon they are still in the race for the playoffs.

‘‘Anything’s possible in this comp,’’ fullback Michael Gordon declares.

In normal circumstances, this would be laughable but, given their past two results, maybe the $51 on offer for Cronulla to make the top eight is worth a flutter.

Mind you, there is still plenty of smart money riding on them at $2.20 to collect the wooden spoon.

DISGRACED former Canberra and NSW centre Blake Ferguson seems determined to drag his public image even deeper into the gutter.

If it is not enough that Ferguson has been convicted of an indecent assault and likes hanging around with Anthony Mundine and Josh Dugan, news breaks that the wayward star has completed a referees course.

‘‘He performed really well and showed a real interest in it … refereeing isn’t the most glamorous of things to be involved in, but it’s a very crucial part of the game,’’ former ref Greg McCallum says.

All I can think is that by hanging around refs – the only people in rugby league more unpopular and maligned than Ferguson is – it somehow bolsters his self-esteem.

McCallum reveals John Hopoate undertook a similar course several years ago after he was involved in an incident at a junior match.

The mind boggles.

Hoppa as a referee. That’ll do me. Talk about lunatics running the asylum.

NSW collect the State of Origin shield for the first time since 2005 and I am reminded of why they no longer sell beer in cans at sporting arenas.

It was at the same venue – Lang Park – in 1987 that the locals started lobbing tinnies on the pitch when King Wally Lewis was sent to the sin bin.

No doubt the Cane Toad faithful would love to have showered Paul Gallen and company in XXXX just as they collected the spoils of victory.

Plastic cups don’t quite have the same impact.

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