NRL 2023: ‘I deserved it’, Jaeman Salmon’s honest admission amid Jarome on-field confrontation

Jaeman Salmon and Jarome Luai have publicly buried the hatchet after their on-field confrontation blew way out of proportion over the past week.

The pair were pictured on field after the Panthers’ first round 13-12 loss to the Brisbane Broncos in a heated exchange.

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The drama had dominated the Panthers’ week leading into their round two clash against the Rabbitohs but the pair once and finally put the drama to bed.

After a cheeky social media post earlier in the week, the pair spoke with Andrew Johns on Channel 9’s coverage after their 16-10 win over Souths on Thursday night.

Walking in the sheds for interviews after the game, Johns found Salmon and asked: “Where’s Jarome Luai?”

Salmon replied: “I think he’s in here, should we grab him?”

After walking into another section of the change rooms, a shirtless Luai played up to the camera, shaping up on Salmon with a big smile on his face before spraying him with water.

Brian To’o was also standing to the side, chanting: “Fight, fight, fight.”

But it was all in good fun as the pair shared a hug.

“Are we going to kiss and make up?” Johns asked. “Are you guys all sweet now?”

Salmon responded: “He’s my brother,” while Luai said: “That’s my dog”.

When Johns asked what Luai said, Salmon said: “He just gave me a spray, and I deserved it.”

Luai added: “I said sorry after the game.”

“He actually apologised after the game,” Salmon said. “I was trying to defend myself a bit and it just started.”

Luai joked: “We had a punch on!”

Surely that has to be the end of the controversy.

The heated exchange blew up especially when the audio was revealed.

“Am I blaming you for that pass [expletive],” Luai could be heard saying to Salmon.

“You did on that [occasion],” Salmon responds.

“Because you weren’t leading [expletive],” Luai replies.

“You said you couldn’t make it because you were too tired.”

“That one time I couldn’t make it,” Salmon adds.

Luai made it clear there is no bad blood between the pair and rugby league legend Paul Gallen said “there’s no issue” with players holding each other accountable for on-field mistakes.

“I understand we love it because we’re part of the media, we want to talk about it, we want to create hysteria about it, but it’s rugby league, it’s a brutal sport,” Gallen told Nine.

“These guys compete for a living, it’s what they do, they’re so competitive, testosterone-fuelled blokes that are trained to compete on every single play for 80 minutes of the game.

“When something doesn’t go right they want to know why and they have a discussion about it. Who cares?”

Ivan Cleary also quickly put it behind them, saying he had a chat with the pair.

“We had a chat – got them in the headmaster’s office – the situation was quite humorous … but we can all see how it wasn’t a great look,” Cleary said.

“It was just a bit of frustration but nothing more than that. You want them to compete hard and that’s what they were doing.”

The Panthers will have their first bye of the season in round three and the first controversy of the season is well behind them.

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