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Souths' fans stick with Crowe

REDFERN is a long way from Tinseltown, but it seems Russell Crowe is far from out-of-touch with Rabbitohs fans reports Amy Dale in the Herald Sun of December 17.

Crowe's video plea to Bunnies supporters to dig deep and offer financial assistance to South Sydney has struck a chord with the very people who can least afford to do so.

The movie star was waving to fans on the Hollywood red carpet yesterday at the premiere of Revolutionary Road, but it was the regulars on the beer-soaked carpets of bars around inner-Sydney who were springing to his defence.

The majority of Souths supporters polled by The Daily Telegraph in the drinking holes of Erskineville, Redfern and Alexandria - along with online readers - agreed with Crowe that the NRL club needs to stand on its own.

"It is important to be a member, it is a way to be involved with the club and ensure its survival,'' Rabbitohs die-hard Des Smith said from his bar stool at Redfern's Tudor Hotel. "More members is exactly what we do need.

"He says 15,000 but I wouldn't mind if we got up to 20,000.''

Cauliflower Hotel regular Derek Parnell also said Crowe was right to ask supporters to share the club's financial burden. "They kept Souths here for the fans, now it's also up to the fans to look after Souths,'' Parnell said.

"They've done all the hard work, so people need to become members and support their club. They were screaming and yelling when they kicked us out, but where are they now? I've been a fan all my life, and when they throw my coffin into the grave, they'll put my Souths card on top of it.''

An overwhelming 88 per cent of respondents to a Daily Telegraph online poll yesterday said Crowe was being a realist rather than a scrooge with his Christmas message to Souths fans.

But there were some who believed the Oscar winner had lost touch with the South Sydney heartland - with Rabbitohs adult memberships now costing between $210 and $300.

"If you look around this pub, many of the people live in housing commission,'' Gary Mealey said at the Abbotts Hotel in Waterloo. "It's not always that easy. Even if you want to be a member, you've got to come up with the money.''