Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds’ butt grab on Canberra playmaker Aidan Sezer was a harmless joke between friends, according to both players.
Reynolds escaped a charge from the match review committee for reaching between the legs of Sezer as he attempted to feed a scrum at Belmore Oval in Monday’s night’s NRL game.
But it didn’t save him from the ire of those on social media after it was highlighted in post-match tv cover, with some comparing it to John Hopoate’s infamous foul-play finger incident of 2001.
Reynolds took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to play down the moment.
“Just want to clear up the incident with Aiden (sic) Sezer last night,” he tweeted.
“We’re good mates and it was just a bit of a joke. I hope no harm done.”
The 26-year-old’s tweet only seemed to fire up more critics who saw it as a poor example, leading to Sezer jumping to his defence on his own instagram account.
“Just to reinforce what @joshreynolds9 has already said, Me and Joshy go back a long way and we were just having a laugh at the scrumbase,” Sezer posted.
“We are good mates and there was nothing in it.. Everyone just sit back and relax.”
Reynolds and Sezer played together in the under-20s and lower grades at the Bulldogs in 2010 and 2011, before Sezer eventually moved to the Gold Coast.
The incident has also largely been laughed off by the NRL community, including South Sydney’s Tom Burgess.
“It’s all part of the game,” Burgess said. “It’s a bit of a joke.
“He just got caught out didn’t he – just don’t get caught.”
Raiders captain Jarrod Croker also hinted that the club weren’t concerned about the bizarre first-half moment, and said he wasn’t aware of it until the end of the match.
“I don’t know what’s going on there,” Croker told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.
“Whether they played a bit too much junior footy together and they missed each other or what the go was, but that was a bit of a laugh as well.”