Mystery man behind South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Semi Radradra bid is Steve Nasteski


Nasteski doesn’t want any credit for bringing Souths and Radradra together. He refused to comment when contacted.

It’s an unusual match-up. Nasteski makes the news for having a collection of Brett Whiteley paintings and selling his Bondi Beach penthouse in the Bondi Pacific for $14.75million to Ginia Rinehart, the daughter of mining billionaire Gina Rinehart. He sounds like a Roosters supporter! But he previously donated a six-figure amount to charity to get estranged Rabbitohs great George Piggins to attend the 2014 grand final when he said he would only go if the donation was made.

Art imitating life: Semi Radradra has had conversations about a league return with art dealer Steve Nasteski, who is good friends with Craig Wing.Credit:Instagram

One of Nasteski’s best mates is Craig Wing, a former Rabbitoh, Rooster and Japan rugby international. He was a backer of Wing when he returned to the Bunnies.

Radradra earns about $1.3million after tax and as much as he has a legacy in mind, he won’t return to the NRL for $500,000.

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“Semi isn’t greedy at all and he is not motivated by money,” his agent, George Christodoulou, said. “He gives most of what he earns away to his family, helping to build churches … money is not his god.

“Look, we have had a few chats with Richo, but it is early days.”

The stumbling block is Souths coach Wayne Bennett. He wants a middle forward to fill the void left by the retirement of Sam Burgess, but there is a temptation to sign a crowd pleaser like Semi.

Souths have 28 players signed up for next season and have only $250,000 under their salary cap to spend. But that may change in the coming weeks. Radradra has a meeting with British rugby team Bristol this week.

Richardson and Burgess bury hatchet

A falling out between Richardson and Burgess has been the talk of the NRL for several weeks, but the issues have now been resolved.

We first raised the matter some weeks back after we revealed Burgess was likely to be forced into retirement. In the background, the talk was that Burgess was not feeling the love from Souths – even from his strongest and most public supporter, Russell Crowe. Since then Crowe has gone public with some very kind words about Burgess and his career.

Mending bridges: Russell Crowe has issued some kind words about Sam Burgess.

Mending bridges: Russell Crowe has issued some kind words about Sam Burgess.Credit:Christopher Chan

Burgess has had a lot on his plate: he was struggling with his relationship with wife Phoebe and dealing with a body that was failing him. What really tipped him over the edge when it came to Souths and Richardson was the fallout from his description of the NRL judiciary as a “kangaroo court”. It was a comment that had respected judiciary head Geoff Bellew seeing red.

There are few more honourable or respected legal men in the country and he felt his reputation was damaged.

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Richardson made contact with Bellew to soothe the situation, as the pair have a good relationship, but that went down badly with Burgess. Richardson had to have a chat to Bellew, or Burgess could have found himself in more hot water.

According to Souths, the relationship is OK now and Richardson has been helping Burgess sort out his retirement.

Burgess has had a few high-profile issues to contend with in recent years. His current problem relates to his family and the AVO taken out by his father-in-law.

Burgess is fighting for access to his children. He’s fair game when it comes to criticism of him as a husband, but everyone who knows him says he is a good father.

Souths are waiting on the NRL to give a verdict on the impact that Burgess will have on their salary cap. The NRL are saying it will be at least another week.

Suspension haunts Flanno

The delay in finalising Shane Flanagan’s deal with the Dragons has been frustrating for all parties.

There has been an issue with getting an insurance company to indemnify him. That stems from the reason he was suspended: for breaching the conditions of his previous ban.

The sooner Flanagan is signed up the better for the Dragons.

Fifita ban gets lost in translation

As the NRL dithers over a suitable punishment for Broncos forward David Fifita, there is a growing push from clubs for the integrity unit to be taken out of headquarters to operate independently.

It is now two weeks since Fifita was locked up in a Bali jail for allegedly assaulting a security officer. It was a dreadful look for the game with Fifita peering out at the TV cameras from behind bars.

Bad look: There is still no sign of a sanction for David Fifita.

Bad look: There is still no sign of a sanction for David Fifita.Credit:AAP

It looked a straightforward case, especially when Fifita paid his victim $30,000 compensation. But there is still no sign of a sanction from the integrity unit.

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The NRL is throwing up all sorts of excuses, including difficulties in translating the official police documents. You can’t make this stuff up. The code receives $2billion in broadcast rights. Surely it can afford a translator.

When Fifita arrived back from Bali to the hugs of Broncos chief executive Paul White he said he was looking forward to giving his side of the story. We haven’t heard boo from him since. Same with Melbourne’s Nelson Asofa-Solomona. He was desperate to get the truth out, but hasn’t spoken publicly at all, so no one really knows what happened outside that Bali nightclub.

That’s why some clubs argue there is a strong case for an independent body – like the NRL judiciary – to hear cases involving player misbehaviour. Such a panel could review the findings of the preliminary integrity unit investigation, cross examine the player and then determine a sanction quickly and publicly.

Open hearings would remove the suspicion among fans that players from the powerful clubs – and big-name players – get a more lenient hearing than those from the lower-placed clubs. At the moment the system is shrouded in secrecy and delays.

Foran’s fiscal insult to injury

Kieran Foran is a $1.2 million-a-season player next year, but he is ready for the massive pay cut that’s coming his way.

He undergoes his 10th surgery since 2016 on Tuesday and knows he is fighting for his career. The days of the big dollars are over.

‘‘I have already accepted that and acknowledged that,’’ he said. ‘‘I heard that I was called the worst buy. I have to accept it and cop it on the chin. If you are basing it on what I am being paid and I delivered, I haven’t produced bang for the buck …

Downward trend: Injuries have slashed the market value of Kieran Foran.

Downward trend: Injuries have slashed the market value of Kieran Foran.Credit:Getty

‘‘By no means do you sign a contract with the view of not playing. Anyone that knows me, they know I don’t play football for the contracts that I am on … I feel gutted for the Bulldogs and they have been very supportive of me. They are not trying to get me to retire.

‘‘They have been very supportive and I want to get back with about 10 rounds to go. People are going to see just how much I want to play as I undergo this rehab process. I’ll put everything into this.’’

Eagles flying high at $20m-plus

It seems likely the Penn family will remain owners of the Sea Eagles. They had a huge offer on the table but, after several meetings, the offer was rejected. It seems the Penns are pricing their asset well above the $20 million mark, way out of reach of the prospective buyers.

Losing the room

If Paul Gallen didn’t like Barry Hall before their bout – which he didn’t – he certainly doesn’t like him after it. Hall had a crack at Gallen after their fight last Friday claiming that Gallen only visited him in his dressing room after the fight as part of a promotion.

The truth is Gallen went into Hall’s dressing room, not the other way around. He went in with his best mate of 32 years. He posed for a photo for Hall’s wife – former Hi-5 star Lauren Brant – who was scathing of him before the fight. He then took a snap with Hall, which he put on Instagram. To say Gallen did it to promote himself or a sponsor is far from the truth.

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