Date: May 16 2012
St George Illawarra prop Trent Merrin has denied a rift between skipper Ben Hornby and Mitch Rein, saying frustration was the reason for Hornby's out-of-character attack on his hooker on Monday night.
The Dragons' most capped player lashed out at Rein near the end of the match against Penrith, pushing the 21-year-old in the back before twice giving him a verbal spray.
Hornby, one of the NRL's coolest customers, was furious with Rein for jumping in to push Lachlan Coote into the in-goal area after he had already grounded the ball in the field of play, giving away a penalty at 12-all and three minutes left.
Soon after, Rein ignored the calls of his skipper, who was set up for an attempt at a match-winning field goal on full-time, deciding to take his chances running down the blindside on the last tackle to no avail.
Merrin said there were no hard feelings between Hornby and Rein, with the pair patching things up.
''There wouldn't be a drama there, I think it was just the frustration of the game,'' Merrin said.
''We're a tight bunch of guys, anything that happens like that we just rub it off and walk away from it. It's nothing big, it's just frustration, we all wanted to win and those sorts of things happen.
''They patched it [up]. Like I said, we're all close and I think it was just the frustration on the field.
''Benny Hornby is a great captain and a great bloke. When things like that happen, it's not intentional.''
There have been similar incidents in past seasons, the most recent was last year when Manly's George Rose shoved Daly Cherry-Evans.
Lote Tuqiri pushed NSW Waratahs teammate Sam Norton-Knight in 2007 and Canberra's Brett Mullins was fined $25,000 for pushing Mark McLinden against the Eels in 2000.
Mullins sympathised with Hornby, but doesn't regret what he did.
''Frustration just creeps in and sometimes it boils up,'' Mullins said.
''For me that's what happens, a build up from previous games and sometimes you get to that point where you've had enough.
''You're trying your guts out and sometimes you think the other bloke is not doing the same, but after the game it is all forgotten about and you move on.
''I don't regret it because it brought things to the forefront. I copped a lot of slack over it but I still stand by what I've done because there's no point regretting things.''
This material is subject to copyright and any unauthorised use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.
[ Canberra Times | Text-only index]