Every Rugby League fan in Queensland knows that St George can’t play. Alfie told us that way back in 1993, and the rule has stuck for almost two and a half decades since, and if it were not for that single glorious season in 2010 when Wayne Bennett injected his specially patented liquid magic dust into the boys wearing the Red and White V that year and won them their first premiership in 30 years, and their last since, well the lads from Kogarah would be an even greater laughing stock on the field than they already are.

Set aside the ineptness of the Dragon’s on the paddock for a moment however; it’s the off-field administration that I would like to concentrate on for a few minutes, they and the self-titled NRL Integrity Unit, for there’s a scandal about to break at St George and the the stench is going to waft from Glebe point all the way the down to the Gong and back and before hovering over the NRL headquarters at Allianz Stadium until the the issue if properly addressed.

It’s about the Saints sponsors.

Their primary sponsor Wentworth Williams to be precise. A regally named firm to be sure, to be sure, but don’t go there expcecting to meet anyone named after a crusty pom Blue Mountain explorer  or the greatest footy player and women’s tennis players in the world, ‘cos there ain’t no Wentworth and there ain’t no Williams hanging about the Kogarah accounting firm: only bikies, dodgy councilors,  drug dealers, murderers, the blokes who pay ’em to pull the trigger, and Big Jim Byrnes.

Where Big Jim goes, crime follows. And criminals.too.

Blokes like Elias ‘Les’ Elias, the alleged mastermind of the Joe Antoun murder who is currently on an extended idyll on a luxury – but very secure – island in the Phillippines, surrounded by a dozen burly armed killers posing as bodyguards who once upon a time formed formed the nucleus of Ferdie Marcos’s Praetorian Guard. Or Farhad Qaumi, these days living the high life in Supermax as a guest of Her Majesty, with a lease for life and a room for his brothers thrown in too.

That’s the class of character you find hanging around outside the accounting firm named after Big Malcolm T’s electorate, and it’s no surprise at all given that the principal of the firm, a more bent than a row of tents shylock named Angelo Russo (below) – not to be confused with the Brisbane used car salesman and multi-millionaire, they’re different blokes – is a friend and business partner of Big Jim, a convicted heroin trafficker and thug turned seemingly mild-mannered successful Eastern Sydney suburbs businessman who in my book is the dodgiest and probably most dangerous fella in the whole of Sydney.


What on earth the sponsor of an NRL club is doing in business with a bloke like Big Jim in the supposedly corruption-stamping-out era of the NRL Integrity Unit is just about anyone’s guess, particularly given Big Jim’s close association and co-dependent business dealings with Les Elias, the man many have fingered as the bloke who gave the Brothers For Life (or a Couple of Years anyway) the order to execute Joe Antoun in front of his baby girls at Christmas time a few years back.

Funnily enough – or not – Big Jim was in a major business dispute with Joe at the time of the loving husband and father’s death, and so too was Angelo Russo the Dragon’s sponsor. Joe reckoned that the pair, along with another fella named Kevin McHugh, who is one of those Zillmere types that you know is lying every time he opens his mouth to speak.

$18 million was originally the amount in dispute, a sum that Joe alleged was the value of a group of labor hire and recruitment companies trading under the Global brand; businesses that Joe further alleged – and with bloody good reason – that Russo and Byrnes in the company of McHugh had pinched from under his very nose not long after he had called them in to undertake a simple forensic analysis of the accounts.

The Federal Court agreed with Joe too, although thanks to the ruthlessness of Farhad Qaumi and his number one gunny-boy he wasn’t around to see the judgement delivered, because some bastard had ordered his execution.

Some bastard who is highly likely to be known by, or connected to, Angelo Russo.

The owner of Wentworth Williams, and sponsor of the St-George Illawarra Dragons; although not for much longer, for thanks to the dogged refusal of Joe’s loving brother Nemer to let his death be in vain and his killers – and everyone connected to them – escape justice, the story is about to be blown wide open in about 2 minutes on the ABC 7.30 report.

I reckon the Dragons will be looking for a new sponsor in the morning. And that there will be a queue of previously guileless punters outside the accountant’s office in Kogarah, demanding their money back and withdrawing their business.

Sometimes there is such a thing as justice, even though it’s usually bloody hard to find.

Good on ya Nemer. I wish you were my brother, bro.

You  can read more about Angelo Russo’s shadowy connection to crime here in this Federal Court judgement