Football

Penrith Panthers NRL teammates Jarome Luai and Jaeman Salmon filmed in explosive post-game altercation

Audio has emerged of the dramatic post-match argument between Panthers teammates Jarome Luai and Jaeman Salmon after Penrith’s upset loss to the Broncos on Friday night.

Cameras captured the moment Luai approached Salmon as he was signing a ball to seemingly criticise the bench second-rower about a mistake during the 13-12 at Penrith Stadium.

Salmon, 24, immediately bit back at the 26-year-old playmaker before a verbal altercation ensued between the two teammates.

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Other teammates then stepped in to block the TV cameras and tell the players to settle down before Luai and Salmon eventually went their separate ways.

Now audio has leaked of exactly what was said between the Panthers pair, and the criticism from Jarome Luai that sparked the altercation.

The audio, obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald, reveals Luai was criticising the interchange forward for not being in the correct attacking position for a play on the left edge late in the game.

Panthers teammates Jarome Luai and Jaeman Salmon were filmed in a heated argument. Pic: NineSource: Channel 9

Luai had been attacking Brisbane’s defence down an edge looking for Salmon to run onto the ball, but his teammate failed to appear in the correct position.

Instead the ball went to ground and was stolen by the Broncos.

“Am I blaming you for that pass [expletive],” Luai is 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.

Speaking in Channel 9’s post-match coverage, NRL great Paul Gallen insisted he had absolutely no problem with the incident and that it simply shows the players both care about the result.

Jarome Luai was seemingly telling Salmon off. Pic: NineSource: Channel 9

“There’s no issue. It’s rugby league, mate,” Gallen told Nine.

“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.

“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?”

Gallen compared the post-match incident to a heated fight between Dragons teammates following their dismal performance in the Charity Shield against the Rabbitohs two weeks ago.

Paul Gallen insisted the altercation wasn’t a worry for the Panthers. Image: NineSource: Channel 9

In that instance winger Mikaele Ravalawa and prop Zane Musgrove engaged in a physical altercation at 6am the morning after the 42-24 loss in Mudgee.

“It’s just part of the game. Let’s just get on with it,” Gallen argued.

“It means they care, it means they care.

“If I’m a Panthers fan, I don’t mind it. Maybe initially you think, ‘OK’. But they care about the result, they care about the game.”

Fellow NRL great Johnathan Thurston backed up Gal’s assessment.

Jarome Luai shows his disappointment after the defeat. Image: NineSource: Channel 9

“They’ve excelled the last two years, they’ve played perfect footy just about every time, so when someone misses their assignment you want to know why you weren’t there,” Thurston said.

“I think it’s just part and parcel of rugby league. You have those conversations, you’re men, when you have those conversations you bury it and then you just move on.”

The Panthers have now lost their last two outings including a 13-12 loss to St Helens in the World Club Challenge last week.

They were noticeably clunky against the Broncos, clearly missing the spark of Api Koroisau and Viliame Kikau who both left the club following last year’s grand final victory.

“It’s looked a little predictable, it’s been a little slow from Penrith and there’s no doubt at all they’re missing Api Koroisau’s craftiness around the dummy half area and certainly Viliame Kikau’s presence out on that left hand side,” Fox League expert Michael Ennis said.

“They’ve missed Koroisau, who has been one of the elite dummy halves for so long, but Soni Luke’s come on with that deception, that craft and the ability to cause the opposition headaches around the ruck.”

Jarome Luai couldn’t ignite the Penrith attack. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Panthers legend Greg Alexander said despite the back-to-back premierships, it was an “enormous” challenge to match the 1981-83 Eels, who were the last team to three-peat.

“Take the two players who have now moved on to other clubs — Kikau and Koroisau — doesn’t matter how you sugar-coat it, they are massive losses and it will take them time,” Alexander said.

“But I was very impressed by what Mitch Kenny and Soni Luke did. Soni Luke came on the field and made a difference and I thought got Penrith back into the game with his runs from dummy half.”

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary agreed his team was disjointed during his post-game press conference.

“So, little bit of early season rust. The team’s different, too, especially at dummy-half,” Cleary said.

“Short pre-season. Both games we’ve played, weather’s been bad. That all adds up.

The Panthers weren’t themselves. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“We’ve got some work to do there but I’m sure we’ll do it.”

While the Broncos are expected to perform better than last year, assuming Reynolds can stay fit, it was a shock loss as the Panthers had won 31 of their last 33 at home leading into the match, dating back to late 2019.

But it was a defensive masterclass from the Broncos which saw the Panthers’ three-year run of going 8-0 to start the season snapped.

“It’s the first time in a couple of years I’ve so much resilience on their (the Broncos’) own tryline,” Gorden Tallis said.

“I don’t know how many sets the Panthers had 20m out.

“It was one of those moments where Brisbane, they just dug deep, Penrith were throwing everything at them but Brisbane just believed in themselves.”

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