NRL great Paul Gallen and journalist Danny Weidler have clashed over the use of on-field microphones after Manly star Addin Fonua-Blake was suspended for abusing a referee.
After a controversial end to the Sea Eagles’ clash with the Knights, which saw Fonua-Blake’s team lose by two points, the star front-rower called referee Grant Atkins a “f—ing retard” and was subsequently sent off.
The 24-year-old was handed with a Grade Three contrary conduct charge from the NRL’s match review committee, a charge which would see the Manly star miss three weeks should he challenge the charge and fail.
However, while Gallen admitted that Fonua-Blake did the wrong thing and agreed with the suspension, he questioned the purpose of on-field microphones in the NRL.
When Weidler hit back, suggesting that it was part of the “theatre”, an interesting back-and-forth ensued on Nine’s 100% Footy, where the reporter called the Sharks great a “dinosaur”.
Paul Gallen: “Why does there need to be microphones on the field?”
Danny Weidler: “To bring us closer.”
PG: “I’m not endorsing what he said, and two weeks is fair enough. He’s done the wrong thing and he’ll get punished for it, but why should everybody out there hear what he’s saying? Why should they hear that? Not everyone can be there, they shouldn’t be there.”
DW: “It’s part of the theatre.”
PG: “Nah, I don’t agree.”
DW: “You’re a dinosaur.”
PG: “Fine, you’re a goose for thinking there should be microphones out there. You couldn’t play the game for a reason.”
DW: “But then I can go and watch it.”
PG: “You can watch it. I’ve got no problem with you watching it on television at all.”
DW: “And I can get close. I can hear what’s going on. I’ve got more of a problem with what he actually said, than who he said it to.”
PG: “Now you’ve got a problem with what he said. So if you didn’t know what he said, why would it matter? You wouldn’t care. You wouldn’t know. So why should you know?”
DW: “I’m a good lip-reader.”
PG: “Come on, mate. You wouldn’t have known unless there’s a microphone on the field. That’s why there shouldn’t be microphones on the field.”
DW: “Well, the referee sent him off for a reason.”
PG: “100 percent he sent him off for a reason, and it should have been dealt with by the referee at the end of the game. He deserved to be suspended for it, but you should not have known what he said.”
DW: “Gal, if there was no microphone, a journo or three or four would have been able to find out.”
PG: “And that would be speculation. There won’t be evidence.”