Revealed: The day an NRL player wanted to bash a teammate

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  • Matthew Ridge
    New Zealand rugby union and rugby league footballer
  • Clinton Gutherson
    Australian rugby league player
Matthew Ridge, pictured here speaking to Wayne Bennett before a game between the Warriors and Broncos.
Matthew Ridge (L) speaks to Wayne Bennett before a game between the Warriors and Broncos. (Image: Nigel Marple/ALLSPORT via Getty)

Old-time players laughed when they read Clint Gutherson had apologised for giving teammate Tom Opacic a spray during Parramatta's loss to the Roosters on Thursday night.

Gutho yelled "f**k me you dumb c**t" after Opacic gave away a penalty at a critical time in the game.

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The Eels skipper later said sorry, but his outburst was a love letter compared to what went on before we had microphones so close to the action.

One former player rang this columnist to recall the day Owen Cunningham chased Manly teammate Matthew Ridge at the Sydney Football Stadium after copping a bake during a semi-final against Balmain.

Ridge wasn't into diplomacy or niceties. He didn’t care if you were on his side against him, the sprays would be delivered with the same venom.

He was an equal opportunity abuser - and also a born winner.

"We were playing a semi in the early 90s and Ridgey thought OJ (Cunningham) was dragging the chain a bit and was into him," the ex-Manly player recalled.

"There were a lot of F and C words flying around and it got that bad that OJ chased him and wanted to flog him.

"Ridgey was good for us but he was brutal. He would have made Gutho look like an altar boy."

While his choice of words could have been better, you can’t fault Gutherson's passion or desire to win.

It sure beats players laughing and smiling 40 seconds after a loss.

Clint Gutherson, pictured here in action for the Eels against the Roosters.
Clint Gutherson in action for the Eels against the Roosters. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Do Michael Maguire and Wests Tigers need to split?

It was painful watching Michael Maguire's face as the Wests Tigers disintegrated in front of his eyes on Friday night.

There was no ranting or raging like we have to come to expect from Madge over the years.

Instead, he wore the look of a coach resigned to his fate as the bumbling Tigers threw away two competition points through a series of plays that were too bad to believe.

You'd normally call then schoolboys errors, but even kids wouldn’t attempt two long range two-point field goals attempts with time left on the clock and their team only two points down.

Nor would kids fail to get to dummy half and hand over possession when one of their players is tackled a metre short of the line with the match there for the winning.

The Tigers looked a team that went completely rogue, ignoring their coach's instructions and taking matters into their own hands with no regard for the game plan.

A month ago Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe assured this columnist Maguire was the man to lead the club out of the mess it finds itself in.

But four weeks is a lifetime in rugby league. Maguire and the Tigers now look in desperate need of a break from each other – maybe permanently.

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