Manly duo Daly Daly Cherry-Evans and Joel Thompson have come out in support of teammate Addin Fonua-Blake following his outburst at referees on the weekend.
Fonua-Blake was hit with a two-week suspension after pleading guilty to a grade-three contrary conduct charge for calling referee Grant Atkins a “f—ing retard” in a controversial loss to Newcastle last weekend.
The Manly prop was then allegedly also involved in a second outburst after the match inside in the players’ tunnel.
While multiple pundits have slammed Fonua-Blake for his comments, the 24-year-old’s teammates have now thrown their full support behind him.
Cherry-Evans, Manly’s skipper, sympathised with his teammate and declared he doesn’t believe Fonua-Blake should be hit with any further punishments.
“I think as a player if you’re in the tunnel or off the field and venting your frustration indirectly, I feel like that’s OK,” Cherry-Evans said.
“I’d be very surprised if anything more happened. Two games is a very big punishment based on the shortened season.
“I don’t have a problem with the emotion and passion, I honestly don’t. I love seeing that in my teammates, it’s just the way it was directed.”
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Cherry-Evans admitted he was unaware as to how “sensitive” the words used by Fonua-Blake really were.
“I’ve learned a lot watching this unfold as to how sensitive that word is. I definitely didn’t understand the impact it has on some people,” he said.
“I think if we all had of known that, had our time over again, of course that word wouldn’t have been used.”
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Thompson also offered his support and said the club would be ready to invite any families and kids to training to further discuss the ugly comments directed at referee Atkins.
“As a teammate and as a friend, he did not mean to offend anyone, he was quite upset about it,” Thompson said.
“He’s a family man and he’s quite remorseful.
“If it has offended any kids or any family out there, we’re happy to have them at training and have a chat to them because we’re not like that, we’re not that type of club.”