THE late Reg Gasnier was one of nature's gentleman and a genuine role model for young rugby league players like me.
He was 11 years my senior and, as a kid growing up in the bush, was my absolute sporting hero.
But I've no doubt he was no angel and, like most young blokes at the time, even Puff the Magic Dragon would have found himself in strife now and again.
We just didn't hear about it.
Back in the '60s there were less temptations, but also less prying eyes.
Reg Gasnier was brilliant on his feet, but he was never forced to sidestep snooping TV cameras, CCTV surveillance or sneaky mobile phone operatives.
And back then there was no instant dissemination of all and sundry on Twitter or Facebook.
But, as brilliant as he was - he captained his country at 23 and scored 127 tries in just 125 NRL games - he was paid a pittance in comparison to NRL players of today.
To him rugby league was a sport, not a profession.
To fans his magnetism was his football skills only, not his social life or his morals.
And that is why the sullying of the news of the death of this true legend of our game last by the boofheaded behaviour of one of our current young stars was so incongruous.
The two players, and their status in the game, are poles apart.
Mitchell Pearce lives in a totally different world and, quite obviously, has difficulty adapting to it. And, unfortunately, neither can many of his era and a number of his Roosters teammates.
Pearce was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
As a kid his dad Wayne sold hotdogs outside Leichhardt Oval to supplement the family income.
As a kid the talented Mitchell was groomed to become a footy star.
His dad, with whom I roomed during an anniversary game in Paris in 1984, was an ornament to the game and never touched a drop of alcohol. Mitchell - if last Saturday is any guide - can't get enough of the grog and continues to misbehave while on it.
Just because these guys are elite sportsmen and so-called celebrities, they should not be denied the latitude to enjoy themselves, and party like others their age. But because of their privileged position - and the preying eyes - they need to understand the limitations.
Last weekend, on his bender, Mitchell Pearce showed no respect for many.
None for the woman in the yellow dress; none for his parents; none for his Origin jersey and none for himself.
Worse still, he displayed absolutely none for people like Reg Gasnier who forged a pathway for the privileged life he leads today.
Yes, yes, yes
GREG Bird did not deserve to miss the entire State of Origin series for his lifting tackle last weekend, and the downgrade by the NRL judiciary was justified.
Fans will have confidence in the fact that commonsense has prevailed.
No, no, no
TWO wins from four outings by interim coach Andrew McFadden hardly seems the yardstick to sign the former assistant to the head coaching role at the Warriors for the next 3½ seasons.
Good on McFadden, who becomes the club's 10th coach in 19 years, but, like many previously, his appointment seems impulsive.
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