Security at Leichhardt Oval has been forced to intervene after a fiery post-match confrontation between Jackson Hastings and multiple Tigers players.
The incident took place minutes after Hastings’ Newcastle Knights staved off a late comeback attempt from his former team, the Wests Tigers.
Hastings was placed on report in the first half following a hit which forced ex-teammate Tommy Talau off the field with a HIA. The Tigers confirmed that Talau’s nose had been broken as a result of Hastings’ swinging arm.
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Following the match, Hastings called the incident a “pure accident” and went over to apologise to Talau before being pushed in the chest multiple times by him.
Talau’s Tigers teammate David Klemmer then came over to remonstrate before security intervened and a Knights official pulled Hastings away from the confrontation.
“I honestly didn’t think I got him, obviously I did (because) he’s bleeding,” Hastings told Fox League of the hit on Talau.
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“I’m really sorry for Tommy, I’ll say sorry to him after this. It was a pure accident.
“I was trying to stop a try, there was no malice in it. He came at me obviously and he was well within his rights.”
Both coaches were unaware of what had taken place between Hastings and the Tigers players when asked about it in the post-match press conference.
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Tigers skipper Api Koroisau said there was no trash talking between the two parties during the match.
Hastings returned to the NRL with the Tigers last year after a four-year spell in the UK, but left the club for the Knights after a reported fallout with then-Tigers general manager Tim Sheens, who is now the head coach.
While Sheens downplayed reports of a feud, Hastings took a thinly-veiled swipe at the Tigers coach by going out of his way to praise his predecessor Michael Maguire.
“We hear the noise, especially about our coach (Adam O’Brien), but he does a good job and he’s instilled a tough (mindset in) the group,” he told Fox League after the match.
“That’s why I loved being coached by Michael Maguire, (he had) a tough, steely mindset.
“The game has turned into an attacking game, but coaches like Adsy (Adam O’Brien), Madge, that’s what wins games. The best teams in the comp that win every year are the best defensively. We’re nowhere near there yet, but we’re getting there.
“He (Sheens) can talk. It’s not up to me to talk. I know the truth behind what happened, he knows the truth behind what happened, and it is what it is. It’s not up to me to talk in the media, my job is to come out here and play football.
“I’ve said all along that I’ve got nothing but respect for the Tigers, their fans, the players, they gave me a chance, they brought me back from England.
“I’m not here to badmouth no one, I never will. If they want to talk, they can talk, but I’m just here to play football and do my best.”
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