Many Sea Eagles star Tom Trbojevic has been forced to deny that his latest hamstring injury came as a result of a night-time foot race in Manly, that has since gone viral.
Amateur footage captured the moment Trbojevic and a random footy fan decided to race each other in a sprint down the iconic Manly Corso strip.
'WHAT A JOKE': Rugby league world erupts over 'ridiculous' farce
Now the footy fan seen beating 'Turbo' in the foot race has offered his take on the controversial incident.
Trbojevic - who has a history of hamstring injuries - has copped widespread flak for putting his body at risk on the eve of the new NRL season.
The superstar fullback insisted at a club press conference on Monday that his latest injury - set to keep him out of action until at least round four - did not come about as a result of his race against a punter in Manly on Saturday night.
The 24-year-old says he injured his hamstring on Sunday morning after slipping in the shower - an excuse many have found hard to believe in light of the Manly Corso footage.
However, the man who famously out-sprinted one of league's fastest men has jumped to the star player's defence.
'Turbo' conqueror leaps to star's defence
The punter - known simply as "Harry" - told 2GB radio on Tuesday that Trbojevic showed no signs of injury in the immediate aftermath of the race after explaining how the controversial incident happened in the first place.
“I thought I’d just ask for a photo … and then I thought I may as well shoot my shot, ask him for a race as well,” Harry told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.
“At first he said no but I sort of convinced him, then it was just off.
“I don’t think (Trbojevic pulled up sore).
“He was fine when he was walking off but I’m not the one to say whether he did it in the race or in the bathroom.
“Sorry that he had to lose the race, first of all. I hope he gets better. I honestly hope he gets better but it takes two to tango.”
The NSW star and Manly fullback fronted the media on Monday after a press release claimed an "innocuous accident" caused an injury to his right hamstring.
“It’s pretty embarrassing to actually say... I woke up yesterday morning, I slipped over in the bathroom and just felt it go,” he said to reporters about the injury that will sideline him for the opening three weeks of the NRL season.
“I do apologise to Manly club and the members that I won’t be out there. It didn’t feel great, I’ve felt the feeling before so I knew pretty quickly and was straight on the phone to the physio.
"It is a bit rattling.
"It's not something that you want to be dealing with and considering the history over the past couple of years, it doesn't make it any easier.
"But at least I know I have been here before and I know what I have to do to get right again. I just have to go and do that."
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