David Klemmer's revelation about post-match spat with Jackson Hastings

The Wests Tigers recruit says the post-match fracas with the Knights was just a storm in a teacup.

David Klemmer stares down Newcastle Knights players.
David Klemmer copped criticism for his role in the dust-up between the Tigers and Knights last weekend, but insists the situation has been overblown. Pictures: Getty Images

Wests Tigers prop David Klemmer insists the brief stoush between himself and Newcastle's Jackson Hastings following their round two clash was completely overblown, despite him running roughly 80 metres to get between Hastings and Tigers teammate Tommy Talau. A fracas kicked off at the end of last weekend's match, when Hastings' attempt to apologise to former teammate Talau for an inadvertent high tackle was not met on friendly terms.

A security guard came onto the field to separate the two players in the resultant argy-bargy, before Klemmer steamed in from some distance away. The former Knight was heavily criticised for what some observers felt was an unnecessary act, with Phil Rothfield saying Klemmer 'ran further to get involved in that than he did the whole game'.

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The post-match coming together saw both Talau and Klemmer criticised, with Hastings left visibly confused by the response from his former teammate. Talau pushed Hastings away after being approached by the Newcastle half, before a security guard stepped in and Klemmer gave his rival a verbal dressing down.

Describing the incident as ultimately 'harmless', Klemmer on Wednesday said the club was more focused on addressing their 0-2 start to the season. He said there was no animosity about the switch of clubs between himself and Hastings.

"I don't know the bloke," Klemmer said. "It's just one of those things, I was looking out for my mate and my mate didn't want to go out there and talk. So I just intervened and cut it out. It was nothing that bad.

"The security guard stepped in. I just went over. It was pretty harmless. It might have looked a different way, but there was nothing in it."

Discussing the incident on Monday night's NRL 360 program, co-host Paul Kent and the other panelists were split on the post-game altercation, with Talau criticised for refusing to accept the apology. “It was a pretty ordinary go from Tommy Talau, he (Hastings) went to apologise, you know the old saying, 'what happens on the field, stays on the field',” Kent said. “That tackle, look it was not right but we see that most weekends now, and most blokes just get on with it.”

Fellow panelist Brent Read insisted that Klemmer was simply sticking up for his teammate, which is the same view Hastings had when speaking about the incident on Monday. The Knights recruit was understandably left shocked by Talau's reaction after regarding his former teammate as a friend.

Wests Tigers keen to move on from Jackson Hastings incident

Talau spent the majority of 2022 sidelined with an ACL injury and undertook part of his rehabilitation alongside Hastings, who suffered a horror leg break towards the back end of the season. According to Rothfield, Hastings sent a supportive text message to Talau when he returned from injury during the off-season, making Sunday's blow-up even harder to fathom.

“I was told today that when he came back for the trials, Jackson Hastings sent him (Talau) a text message and said ‘good on you mate, you did it tough last year, welcome back to the NRL, this is where you belong’,” Rothfield said on NRL360. “That’s why he was shocked by the response (on Sunday)... there was absolutely no intent in that tackle, it was a mishap that went wrong.”

David Klemmer shoves an NRL rival.
David Klemmer was a key figure in a brief post-match dustup between the Tigers and Knights in round two. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

The matter summed up the Tigers' hapless start to the season, with two losses at Leichhardt Oval and Sunday's coming against a severely-depleted Knights. Fullback Daine Laurie, second-rower Isaiah Papali'i and bench hooker Jake Simpkin all join Talau in missing this weekend against Canterbury at Belmore.

Star five-eighth Adam Doueihi also has an injury concern, after he sat out the end of training on Wednesday with foot bruising. The Tigers look a long way from the team whose attack gave fans genuine hope in the last week of trials at Belmore three-and-a-half weeks ago.

With AAP

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