Josh Addo-Carr appeared to take a cheeky swipe at NSW coach Brad Fittler as he scored a hat-trick to help the Bulldogs beat the Titans on Sunday.
The Bulldogs winger recorded his seventh career hat-trick and ran for a staggering 317 metres in a 36-26 victory against the Gold Coast.
'TOO HONEST': Craig Bellamy under fire over post-match act
In the most memorable try of the afternoon, Addo-Carr flirted with the off-side rule by darting from the Bulldogs' goal line, grabbing an intercept and racing 95 metres to score.
He then appeared to take a veiled swipe at Fittler after completing his hat-trick in the second half.
After touching down for his third try of the afternoon, the dumped State of Origin winger imitated putting a phone to his ear before throwing it to the ground and stomping on it.
Addo-Carr was inexplicably overlooked by Fittler for the NSW side that lost the State of Origin series to Queensland, despite playing in every previous series since Fittler took over in 2018.
Fittler instead opted for Roosters winger Daniel Tupou, who had a mediocre series and made a crucial blunder that led to a Queensland try in the decider.
A number of NRL fans thought Addo-Carr's try celebration on Sunday was a reference to Fittler and his shock dumping.
Leading journalist Paul Kent claimed last week that Fittler has been dodging Addo-Carr's calls and never offered the winger an explanation for his snub.
"They play phone tag apparently so he doesn’t actually speak to him. Another guy who has always stood up for NSW ... and then inexplicably gets left out of the side," Kent said.
“Latrell Mitchell some years back, Cody Walker some years back, Luke Keary some years back. They’ve all just been ‘you’re not in the side mate, done’.
“So when you get these inexplicable omissions and you’re one of those players that’s just been burned because you’ve been left out of the side then you can’t tell me that there’s just a small part of you that’s stinging over that.
“And then you don’t feel that the loyalty and the commitment you have given to the journey has been returned. And it hasn’t.”
Sportsbet shared a video of Addo-Carr's celebration on Sunday and wrote: "When Freddy didn't call during Origin.…"
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) July 24, 2022
That Addo Carr try celebration looked like a message to space cadet Fittler.#NRLBulldogsTitans
— Μαικ (@MaikLeventis) July 24, 2022
I wonder if the genius blues coach Freddie Fittler is watching Josh Addo -Carr today 😂😂
— Terry Zarsoff (@Terryzarsoff) July 24, 2022
#NRLBulldogsTitans Josh Addo-Carr is a superstar. The Tians backline were not going to catch him. Brad Fittler now you know who you missed in Game 1 and 3.
— Shane Moran (@scoolm8) July 24, 2022
Can you believe Brad Fittler did not pick Josh Addo-Carr for origin? #NRLBulldogsTitans
— Adam Houda (@LawyerAdamHouda) July 24, 2022
I'm old enough to remember when NSW didn't pick Josh Addo-Carr for an entire Origin series. #NRLBulldogsTitans
— Adrian Arciuli (@Adrian_Arciuli) July 24, 2022
— Sean Sullivan (@TheSeanSully09) July 24, 2022
Josh Addo-Carr and Matt Burton star for Bulldogs
Three of the Bulldogs' four first-half tries came directly after line-breaks down the flanks and all three involved at least Matt Burton or Addo-Carr.
The Titans conceded 26 points in the first half and could have been further behind had the bunker not denied three Bulldog tries.
Canterbury put on a show for prospective coach Cameron Ciraldo, while also intensifying pressure on Titans boss Justin Holbrook.
Speculation that premiership-winning Penrith assistant Ciraldo could join the Bulldogs came to a head this week when he was photographed lunching with a club sponsor.
Coaching the Bulldogs has become a much more attractive proposition now that interim coach Mick Potter has them playing the attacking brand of football that was on display in their fifth win of the season at CommBank Stadium.
Gold Coast have won just three games in 2022 but need to win twice more and rely on other teams losing to finish any higher than 15th.
It has been a huge fall from grace for the Gold Coast side, who were one pass away from making the second week of the finals last year.
They have lost their past eight games to put coach Holbrook's future at the club under the microscope.
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