The Rabbitohs are claiming the altercation was sparked by a series of barbs directed at former Panthers player Jed Cartwright, who joined the Rabbitohs from his boyhood club in 2020.
In an exclusive for 9News in Sunday night’s bulletin, footage captured Walker mouthing off at Green after the match, with Rabbitohs players and an official stepping in to prevent it from escalating.
Rabbitohs officials have since been quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald explaining that Walker was sticking up for Cartwright, who had gone over to speak to Green seeking an explanation for his alleged sledging during the match.
The Rabbitohs are yet to lodge an official complaint with the NRL, the Herald reports, but believe Green crossed the line and was directing comments at Cartwright about a broken back he suffered during his time at the Panthers.
”When you’re in a privileged position, you should never speak to another player from an opposition team let alone say the things that were said,” a ‘high ranking South Sydney official’ told the Herald. “It’s the height of disrespect.”
The Rabbitohs claim the sledge referenced a serious injury Cartwright suffered at the Panthers before leaving the club.
As Walker fumed at Green, Rabbitohs players Cameron Murray and Davvy Moale, as well as South Sydney chief operating officer Brock Schaefer, arrived on the scene to intervene.
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Green was later escorted from the field by Penrith officials.
The Panthers told the Herald Green was just encouraging his player “to get back” in the line and wasn’t referencing his previous back injury.
The incident adds to a bitter recent history between the two clubs and followed a spicy preliminary final, with the Rabbitohs losing 32-12 and playing the last 17 minutes with 12 men after Taane Milne was sent-off for an ugly shot on Spencer Leniu.
The relationship between the two teams was strained during last year’s finals series, with Wayne Bennett and Ivan Cleary trading barbs in the lead-up to the 2021 grand final over the treatment of Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary.
Tensions escalated further following the match due to Rabbitohs claims that the Panthers had been disrespectful during celebrations.
Those claims were backed up by video posted on social media of Viliame Kikau singing South Sydney’s famous song ‘Glory Glory’ as he celebrated the premiership. The video did not go down well at the Rabbitohs, who claimed it was arrogant and mocking.
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