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From Greystanes to Hollywood: Spudd tells his story

Legendary rugby league enforcer Mark "Spudd" Carroll has released a book of his life story, with some new tales to be told of his life growing up as a league-mad Western Sydney kid to swanning around Hollywood rubbing shoulders with superstars.

With some extra time on his hands at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the former Panthers, Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles front-rower decided now was as good a time as any to write a book.

Armed with a Tooheys New and a kitbag overflowing with tales, the Blues and Kangaroos legend headed to the beach with rugby league journalist Adam Hawse to tell his story.

"I've always wanted to do a book," Carroll tells

"It happened through COVID, Adam and I were both working at Fox, we'd been speaking about it and when COVID hit we said 'let's have a crack at it'.

"I'd go down to the water's edge where I live down here at Bayview, I'd sit there with a Tooheys New in one hand and we'd talk for an hour.

"He'd record them like a memo, we were just talking, the next day we'd go again and then he'd start putting them in print format in emails and it just read so bloody good. He's so creative with his words, that's why he's such a great journo.

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"And I'd send those off to my mates, to my wife, to my mum and dad. Your mates are your best input. I've got a couple of mentors there and they'd come back and say, 'Spudd this sounds bloody great', and it does, it reads like I'm speaking."

The greatest hits all get a run – the Super League war, the legendary battles with nemesis-turned-mate Paul 'Chief' Harragon who contributed a chapter to the book, and working in Hollywood with Russell Crowe.

But despite plenty of media appearances over the years, Carroll says there's still plenty of untold yarns that get a run in the book and he doesn't hold anything back.

"There's some great things in there that haven't been told before. Some things I've never spoken about," he says.

"Russell Crowe did the foreword. There's stories of Super League. I'm donating my brain to science. Tales of Hollywood. The day I almost broke Russell Crowe's leg. Relationship with league legends. Sticking it to the Eels.

"It's the story of a kid who dreamed about playing rugby league and ended up ticking all the boxes. I've gone from living in Greystanes to working in Hollywood so I thought I'd put it all together in a book."

Mark Carroll alongside fellow Blue Michael Vella ater Origin 2, 1999, which NSW won 12-8.
Mark Carroll alongside fellow Blue Michael Vella ater Origin 2, 1999, which NSW won 12-8.

There's not too many rugby league autobiographies that include hanging out with Hollywood A-listers and playing guitar in front of Sting.

"To be on set with Renee Zellweger and Ron Howard, it's quite incredible to meet those people," Carroll says.

"I played in front of Sting who's a fantastic musician. At a party one night I jumped on stage and grabbed the acoustic and did my version of a rock'n'roll medley. It was a night to remember."

And fans who can't get enough of the legendary duels with Harragon won't be disappointed either.

"The thing about Chief, everyone talks about the collisions," Carroll says.

"It's quite incredible, we've been retired all these years. We've formed a legacy. You'll never see collisions like that every again. I speak to Chief now and then to see how he's going.

"I class him as a mate but back then he wasn't my mate, no way. I classed him as an enemy. There was hatred there. He actually does his own chapter in the book. You tell me another book you go and speak to your nemesis and get him to write his own chapter... I think that's pretty special.

"I was fortunate enough to get Bozo (Immortal Bob Fulton) to write his own chapter two months before his passing. It just shows you how tough he was because he didn't show any signs of being crook. I speak about my other great mate Tom Raudonikis. I've lost a couple of beautiful people this year.

"Even if you don't like me as a rugby league player you'll have a bit of a laugh, see some fantastic photos.

"I've got Wayne Blair who's a great mate of mine, a fantastic Australian actor, he's done the audio book and it's a special way of hearing it.

"It's called Spudd: The Mark Carroll Story. It's available from and all good bookstores."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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