NSW captain Paul Gallen has distanced himself from a fake Facebook posting made under his name lending support to his under-pressure State of Origin counterpart Cameron Smith.
Smith came under fire during the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes special on Alex McKinnon on Sunday.
McKinnon expressed his disgust at comments Smith made as he was carried off AAMI Park in March last year, following the tackle that left him paralysed.
In a post on Facebook under the name of Paul Gallen on Monday read the comment: “Here’s Cam Smith helping raise money for Alex McKinnon a year ago. How quickly it was forgotten. Grub journalism.”
Under the post was a picture of Australian and Queensland captain Smith and Gallen promoting the NRL’s Rise For Alex round last year.
However the posting was a hoax, with Gallen later taking to Twitter to say it had nothing to do with him.
“Getting plenty of txt/calls about a face book acc put up as me with comments about last nights story. I DO NOT have any face book accounts,” Gallen wrote.
In the 60 Minutes program, McKinnon was shown footage of the aftermath of the tackle that ended his NRL career – as he was carried off the ground Melbourne skipper Smith continued to argue with referee Gerard Sutton over the penalty given for the tackle.
“If he doesn’t duck his head that doesn’t happen, anyone who ducks their head now is that going to be a penalty?” Smith can be heard saying over the referee’s microphone. “Is he still debating, is he f***ing serious?” McKinnon asks.
“Wouldn’t you just shut up. You see someone with eight, nine people around them and you want to debate a f***ing penalty
“That’s the Australian captain there … so well done … it is f***ing ridiculous.”
McKinnon said he had not heard from Smith since the incident.
“I don’t know whether he has tried to make contact through the club but if Jordan McLean (who was suspended for his role in the tackle which resulted in McKinnon becoming a quadriplegic) can make contact … I haven’t heard anything from him (Smith).
“I’m not angry, it just reassures the type of person that he is, at least Jordan reached out.”
McKinnon’s comments have provoked a strong reaction across the rugby league world ahead of Wednesday’s State of Origin decider in Brisbane, both supporting and critical of Smith.
Smith is understood to be upset about the situation, including the fact he wasn’t given a right of reply to McKinnon’s comments by Channel Nine.
Smith is in camp with the Maroons and is yet to respond to the comments.
NSW coach Laurie Daley declined to comment on the situation in his media conference on Monday, out of respect to both McKinnon and Smith.