By Adam Hawse
RUSSELL Crowe has taken his love of South Sydney a step further, producing and singing a revamped club theme song free of charge.
The song debuted at last night's Charity Shield clash between the Rabbitohs and Dragons at Aussie Stadium.
The tune starts with the traditional "Glory, Glory to South Sydney", before children from the Australian National Choral Association take over.
The ending is sung by Crowe to the theme of Russell Morris's 1969 hit The Real Thing.
The Rabbitohs trialled the song during training last Friday at Erskineville Oval and Crowe rang the players afterwards to gauge their reaction.
"He asked me if the boys got a buzz out of it," Souths captain Bryan Fletcher said. "It's a good song. I heard it at training, but didn't know it was Russell singing until afterwards.
"This just shows how much Russell loves Souths. He did this off his own bat - he didn't get asked to do it."
The choice of The Real Thing was a connection to Souths' new major sponsor, Real Insurance, and was agreed upon by all parties.
Sources say the creation of the song and production costs came to around $70,000.
Chairman Nick Pappas had stated in last week's The Sunday Telegraph that Souths fans could expect to see more of Crowe in 2005.
The Hollywood star's increased involvement does not end with the new song.
There was speculation last night he is involved in a deal between the Rabbitohs and Disneyland, although club officials played this down as being "premature".
The new theme song, to be played every time Souths take the field at home games, is another step into the future for the Rabbitohs.
Chief executive Shane Richardson, while respectful of the club's past deeds, is keen for the club to become a more modern franchise.
He said the song has not cost the club a cent.
"Russell's done this for nothing, just his love of the club," Richardson said.