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How Russell Crowe Turned Australia’s Worst Rugby Team Into World Champs

In nine years, the Oscar winner helped transform the South Sydney Rabbitohs from perpetual losers into the best rugby league team in the world
Crowe encourages Rabbitohs players before a match in 2010.

Crowe encourages Rabbitohs players before a match in 2010.

Photographer: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

“Let’s get in bed together,” Oscar-winner Russell Crowe told the crowd. “I hope you respect me in the morning.”

In March, 2006, with a pumped fist held high, the actor made a final plea to South Sydney Rabbitohs supporters to get behind his takeover offer. The cash-strapped rugby league club that Crowe had followed since childhood was then the laggard of the Australian competition. He planned to lead a revival.