As if leading the NRL premiership wasn’t enough.
South Sydney chairman Nick Pappas has ended speculation about Russell Crowe’s ownership of the club, by admitting the Hollywood superstar is committed “long-term” and that he won’t be walking away, even if the Rabbitohs were to win this year’s grand final.
Crowe’s decision to back away from selling his 37.5 per cent share at the end of this season, as he previously mooted last year, comes as NRL CEO Dave Smith praised the Oscar-winning actor for his influence to change the way clubs are run.
Ahead of the Rabbitohs’ clash with New Zealand in Perth, Pappas put any conjecture over Crowe’s ownership of the club to bed.
“Russell was having some thoughts about moving on,” Pappas told The Sunday Telegraph.
“He’s now very committed to staying with the club for the long-term. He’s enjoying it, he still works very actively for the club behind the scenes.
“There’s absolutely no indication from him that anything is going to change and that’s the way we like it.
“That’s the way our members like it. The reception he gets at home games, is just extraordinary.”
Late last year Crowe declared he was preparing to step away from his involvement in the Bunnies.
“It’s pretty simple, I have to make more time for my family,” he said in November.
“I have loved the responsibility of bringing South Sydney back to being a competitive force.”
But as The Sunday Telegraph revealed last weekend Crowe’s personal life is back on track.
And while it’s since been suggested that Crowe was preparing to re-consider the decision to withdraw his financial investment in the club, Pappas was at pains to ease any doubt from Souths fans that Crowe wasn’t going anywhere.
“He did think about moving on and putting his priorities elsewhere, which we all respected at the time,” Pappas said.
“We announced that over a 12 to 18 month period he was going to look at slowly disposing of the interest, but that’s changed.
“We’re very excited that Russell is staying with us for the long-term.”
Asked if Crowe’s financial input into the club would change if the NRL leaders were to claim this year’s premiership, Pappas said: “No. The aim of the club, coach Michael Maguire, the board and Russell is to make this a sustainable club and to usher in a period of success that will not be fleeting.
“We’ve seen other clubs do that. They rise to the top and they fall down very quickly. That’s not what we’re trying to do here.
“Everything he does by working with us on major sponsorship deals and being there for meetings with strategic partners and playing the role in our merchandise and all this stuff that he does, all indicate he’s here for the long haul.
“But his financial interest, for the moment and for the long-term, he’s there to stay.”
The Sunday Telegraph has learned Smith recently met with Crowe to discuss the state of the game with the pair agreeing to meet again in the future.
Smith stopped short of declaring Crowe’s involvement in rugby league was as significant, if not more so, than trying to keep Roosters star Sonny Bill Williams in the game.
“Russell Crowe along with Peter Holmes a Court and the board at Souths have been fantastic for the game,” Smith said.
“The success you see at Souths speaks for itself.
“Russell has brought international profile to the club and the game and he’s challenged people to think differently across a number of areas.
“The game’s been lucky to have him.”