Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin has issued a warning to others to get regular skin checks after a cancer scare.
The iconic rugby league great was absent from commentary duties for the opening State of Origin game last Wednesday, and he has since revealed why.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend, Vautin said he was told he was “on the way to developing skin cancer” after believing he just had a dry patch on his face.
“I had a patch of what I thought was dry skin on my face, but I went to the doctor to get it looked at … the next thing I knew I was being told that I was on the way to developing skin cancer,” the 61-year-old said.
“With Origin coming up, I spoke to the doctor and said what would happen if I put it off for a few weeks, even three weeks. I said to him, ‘Believe it or not, I work in television and my face is on TV’.
“He didn’t give a rats and told me I had to act straight away. I was told not to muck around. They gave me a treatment called Efudix. It’s a cream that they explained to me is like chemo in a tube.
“I was told to put it on twice a day for 21 days, but after 13 days, I just couldn’t get any more on, it was too painful. At times it hurt so much that I couldn’t talk.”
The former Manly Sea Eagles player warned others to make sure they’re getting regular checks.
“Given I’m a ‘ranga’, I’ve always looked after my skin … I am outside a lot, but I am aware the dangers with being a redhead and the sun,” he said.
“It just shows you can’t be too careful. Go and get your skin checked, even if you think it couldn’t be a cancer and even if you are being careful.”
NSW go back to basics for Origin II
Meanwhile, NSW will put an emphasis on completion rates in their must-win State of Origin clash in Sydney after their most error-riddled performance in more than a decade.
The Blues coughed up the ball 17 times in last week’s series-opening loss to Queensland, a figure that has NSW coaching staff calling for a return to basics.
It was the most mistakes by either NSW or Queensland in an Origin match since the Blues’ dark old days of Game II 2009, where they also made 17 handling errors.
It prompted a completion rate at 74 per cent, as they failed to reach a kick until the 12th minute - and even that was charged down.
“It seemed pretty obvious where we fell short. I feel like we've got answers and we can play better,” coach Brad Fittler said.
“We usually average about 90 per cent completions, we were about 75 or something like that.
“You just don't put much pressure on them. But in saying that, I thought they did a really good job.”
Fittler’s message will be a simple one heading into Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium.
The Blues had Sunday off but on Saturday did an hour of opposed play, with Jack Wighton training freely and without strapping.
There was a feeling both sides came out expecting play expansive football under the new rules before Queensland adapted better to a grind.
And Fittler doesn't want that to be the case again in Sydney.
“Sometimes you forget the most important things are pretty boring. It's a pretty dull game,” Fittler said.
“It got away from just wanting to get involved real heavy grind (in Adelaide).
“Once the second half came, I just realised we hadn't taken enough energy out of them.”
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