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EXCLUSIVE: Eels star allegedly given cash in car parkForan focused on his health, not footy

It took three days for a sliver of the truth in the Jack family split to come out. The Swans have been aware of the feud for a long time. This column has learnt it was a problem the Swans tried to solve by bringing the parties together because they feared it would spill over into what it has become: an ugly and very public rift.

Now that we have a clearer understanding of the Jack family dynamic, be certain there is plenty we have not seen. There is no shortage of evidence Donna Jack, the mother of Swans co-captain Kieren Jack, did not approve of her son’s relationship with Charlotte Goodlet.

Goodlet is the young woman who was splashed all over the news and wrongly labelled as the bikini model who ripped the family apart.

During his rugby league playing career, Kieren’s dad, Garry Jack, was noted for his toughness. Garry taught his son how to play footy and he now thinks he deserves eternal gratitude. That belief is central to his strained relationship with his son.

Despite his mother’s meddling, Kieren has become a standout human being; a strong enough character to captain his team and excel in his chosen sport. Kieren will be remembered for his premiership win and toughness. Away from the field, he will be praised for his diplomacy and lauded for his ability to compartmentalise; to perform in spite of his family and their attempts to drive a wedge between him and the woman he loves, Goodlet.

Centre of storm: Charlotte Goodlet in the stands during the match against Geelong. Photo: Michael Dodge

This week league legend Garry Jack was back in the headlines because he and his wife wanted tickets to their son’s 200th game for the Swans, and were left out of the loop. And it became public knowledge because Donna decided to tweet her disgust at the situation. Donna has been giving Kieren and Goodlet a hard time for years. It’s her view Kieren had to choose between Goodlet and the family.

Those who know the situation inside out say that the ultimatum was delivered and Kieren made his choice – he went with Goodlet and her family.

Goodlet was in tears on Friday night in the stands as Kieren kicked his side’s first goal and was outstanding as the Swans beat Geelong.

The Swans knew of the problems Kieren was having. He was prepared to reconcile at one point, but those days appear to be gone. And it’s sad.

Over the past two years the relationship between Kieren and his parents has been close to  non-existent. Swans officials finally brought the family together, but it clearly didn’t solve the problem.

United: Kieran Jack and Charlotte Goodlet on the red carpet at the 2015 Brownlow Medal. Photo: Pat Scala

So why is Goodlet being blamed by the family and skewered by sections of the media? The family think she is not good enough for her son; that she’s a gold digger. It’s all a bit rich. Goodlet is a former Miss Universe Australia contender. And now the 24-year-old is a television news producer. She is low key and low drama. Most people in the Nine newsroom wouldn’t have known who her boyfriend was. Until this week.

Goodlet  is devastated by the events of the week. Yes, it has hurt her, but it’s known she is truly upset for Kieren. But what the past week has taught each of them is that they are  in for the long haul. If there is a positive out of the mess of the last week, it’s that. Bird wants to lead the Blues

Changing of the guard: Paul Gallen and Jack Bird watch on from the bench during Origin II. Photo: Getty Images

Jack Bird is every bit a 10-year Origin player in the making. His cameo at Suncorp Stadium in game two of this series showed that.

And Bird wants to be more than just an Origin player. He has the ambition to be a Blues captain in the near future, even though there is a queue of players waiting to be considered for the job after Paul Gallen plays his last game on Wednesday night.

If Robbie Farah is available next year, he’d be an obvious choice. But in the long term Boyd Cordner and Aaron Woods appear to be strong possibilities. Cordner has huge support from within. But Bird wants it known that he would like to be considered for the gig.

“I try not to get overawed by big games,” Bird said. “I felt comfortable out there and I thought that I handled it pretty well. I’ve had the self-belief since I was a little kid. Especially when I got sick [rheumatoid arthritis] and that sickness gave me that push to want to be a success.”

Bird doesn’t hide his admiration for Gallen.

“Me and Gal are two very different players,” he said. “But I’d like to do what he has done and, yes, leading out the state is something I’d like to do one day. Hopefully, if I keep things going, it is something that I will get the chance to do. I’d love to lead this great state out and win us the series, but I know there are a number of other young players in this side who would like the chance to be captain of the Blues.

“It’s such an honour to play in Gal’s last game. I wasn’t much of a Sharks person growing up, but when Gal came to a fundraiser for me when I was 16 that changed the way I thought. That was a really big thing in my life and I didn’t forget it. He was a really big cause of me going to the Sharks. We have shared a good bond since that time.” Stewart is the pride of Gerringong

Pride of the south: Gerringong’s Grace Stewart has made the Hockeyroos squad. Photo: Georgia Matts

The South Coast seaside town of Gerringong, long known as a healthy breeding ground for league stars such as Mick Cronin and Rod Wishart, has now served up another player who looks to have a big future. There’s no more familiar sight in the streets of Gerringong than Grace Stewart, ponytail flying, running kilometre after kilometre, year in and year out, training first for cross country, in which she reached state championship level, and more recently pounding the streets and dreaming of Rio.

And on Monday it all paid off. Grace who has just turned 19, fresh out of Kiama High School, was chosen as one of the youngest members of the Hockeyroos.

Her uncle is the highly respected Nine news Los Angeles bureau chief Robert Penfold. He couldn’t contain his joy.

“Our family is beyond proud and that goes for Gerringong, too,” Penfold said. “The Stewarts are great friends of local boys made good Mick Cronin and Rod Wishart. Now, no doubt, they are singing the praises of Grace, who they’ve known all her life.

“We are so impressed with the tenacity she’s shown. There have been a lot of sacrifices made. It’s been a real family affair over the years helping Grace achieve this. Living in Gerringong meant mum Mandy or dad Scott driving her two to three times a week, a 250-kilometre round trip, for training with the state team in Homebush.”

While touring with the Australian junior team in Argentina last year she broke away for a couple of hours in Buenos Aires to go to the British embassy to sit her HSC exams.

It’s quite the sporting family. Her dad, Scott, is education and welfare officer  at StGeorge Illawarra and  is also Cronin’s assistant coach at Gerringong. Grace’s  sisters, Lilly, 17, and Demi, 14, play hockey at state level and 11-year-old Hamish is a rising league star.

Grace fought her way into the Hockeyroos Olympic squad with great performances in recent internationals in Darwin and London. Now mum and dad and Grace’s grandparents are all madly saving, hoping to make the trip to the Olympics as well.

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