NRL great Bryan Fletcher has revealed how he once tackled South Sydney owner Russell Crowe through a wall during a boozy night out.
Speaking to Brett Finch on the 'Uncensored' podcast recently, Fletcher opened up on the wild night with his South Sydney teammates and Crowe in the mid-2000s.
Fletcher was named Rabbitohs captain in 2003 when he joined the club from the Roosters, but suffered a nightmare season as they won just three games.
The 47-year-old said he'd never met Crowe before his move to South Sydney but had heard the Hollywood A-Lister had promised to take the 2002 team to the Playboy Mansion if they made the finals.
So when Fletcher received a phone call from Crowe near the middle of the 2003 season his mind started going wild.
Not that Fletcher believed Crowe was actually on the other end of the line, assuming one of his teammates was pranking him.
“I said, ‘How’s Meg? Is she good in the cot?’” Fletcher told Finch, referring to Meg Ryan who Crowe was dating at the time. “I said something more crude than that.
“Then there was awkward silence and he goes, ‘Fletch, it’s Russell. Russell Crowe’.
"And when he dropped his voice I knew straight away it was him and I’ve just gone, ‘F***, how do I get out of this?’”
Crowe asked Fletcher to tell the South Sydney players to bring some nice clothes to change into after training on Wednesday because he wanted to take them out.
That's when the Playboy Mansion dream started swirling in Fletcher's head.
“My imagination just starts going so by the time I get to Sutto (John Sutton) who’s the 17th bloke, I said, ‘Sutto, you’re not going to believe this bro, we are going to the Playboy Mansion’,” Fletcher said.
“Everyone is frothing, thinking they’re going to the Playboy Mansion.”
Unfortunately for the Rabbitohs they weren't going to LA, instead arriving at a hotel in Woolloomooloo where cricket greats Shane Warne and Merv Hughes where waiting to help inspire them out of their rut.
Bryan Fletcher tackled Russell Crowe through a wall
But the night took a turn around 9pm when Crowe brought out some bottles of Absinthe.
“We went through 10 bottles. Ten bottles later and we’re going mad. It’s on. Blokes are cheering and carrying on,” Fletcher said, recalling how Crowe then challenged him to some footy.
“It was an odd time but I’m thinking, ‘You’ve got to humour Russ, he’s put this drink on for us’,” Fletcher said.
“So Russell comes running at me and I tackle him how I always have my whole career and I miss him. He runs behind me and dives down behind an imaginary set of posts.
“I said, ‘Good on you Russ’ and kept walking. I take two steps and I get pushed in the back. It’s Russ. He just stops in front of me and he goes, ‘You f***ing dog. You’re a f***ing cat. You’re a waste of money, you’re South Sydney’s worst ever captain’.
"He was right but he didn’t have to say it to my face.
“The boys have jerried to what’s going on … I got the s**ts and said, ‘Let’s just do this again’.
“He basically gets up and runs at me and I get under his ribs and drive him … and put him through a wall and the boys are just going, ‘What the f*** are you doing? Why are you doing this?’
“Russ pops up, just shakes his head and goes, ‘That’s what I want to see!’ That was his motivation, so we end up having a terrific night, getting on the p***.”
Crowe's motivational tactics worked a treat as the Bunnies went out and thrashed the Melbourne Storm that weekend.
However the joy was short lived.
“We beat them 42-10 and we did not win another game all year,” Fletcher said.
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