Former Brisbane Broncos star Chris Walker has made a stunning about-face after criticising young halfback Brodie Croft.
Walker was scathing in his criticism of Croft after Brisbane's latest chastening defeat - a 46-8 thrashing by the Melbourne Storm.
'HOW THE HELL': Phil Gould erupts over embarrassing NRL farce
‘HARD TO WATCH’: NRL shocked by 'sickening' moment
The former Broncos player was incensed by pictures of Croft smiling and laughing after the match, so he took to Instagram to vent his frustrations.
Walker shared a photo of Croft smiling after the Storm defeat, accompanied by another picture of him in tears after losing to the Warriors in round eight.
He captioned the photos with emojis of a crocodile and a man crying, insinuating that Croft's tears weren't genuine.
The post prompted a fierce defence of the halfback from Brisbane teammate Payne Haas, which kicked off an explosive war or words with Walker.
“You know what a troll is look that up champ,” Haas wrote. “Don’t be coming at my mates thought you would know better.”
Walker replied: “Bud, if he was your mate, he’d be going deep into the D line for ya, I’ve encountered a few trolls in my day, the thing is about TROLLS is they have never played NRL.”
Haas responded: “why you coming at him and making up a s**t post you look like a twelve year old you 9 ball. Message him instead if you’ve got a problem you kid.”
Walker hit back: “bra, if your (sic) OK with him acting like that after a lose (sic) maybe you should have a look at the culture, have a think about it and get back to me.
“Big fella, if your asking what my post is all about, this is the definition of crocodile tears … I’ll send you a dictionary, look it up.”
Eventually club legend Petero Civoniceva weighed in on the drama, commending Haas for standing up to his teammate and hitting out at Walker.
“Proud of you @lege_era0 You of all people @iamchriswalker should know the ups and downs of this game. Give him a break – we all nursed you thru some s**t during your career," Civoniceva wrote.
"Don’t post s**t – support the lad! We have benefited off the game we love! Now give back – ring the lad and tell him how you conquered those low times instead of throwing s**t from a far. Lift the brother up- that’s what good men do!”
Civoniceva's powerful words brought about a contrite response from Walker on Monday.
“I just wanna take this time to personally apologise to @petcivo @lege_era0 and @brodiecroft_7 for my outburst on Saturday morning,” he wrote.
“As a (sic) X player I should not have used my social platform to question a players passion. To the club and players I hope you can turn your season around.”
Off the back of the Storm defeat, the Broncos slipped to their eighth loss in nine games but there were finally encouraging signs after showing some welcome fight.
Fifita blow deepens Broncos woes
However, their dismal season lurched from one low to another over the weekend, with confirmation of David Fifita's defection to the Titans from next season.
The Titans poached the 20-year-old from their local rivals on a deal believed to be worth $3.5 million, following months of deliberation from the young forward.
Titans head of culture Mal Meninga played a huge role in luring Fifita south from the state capital, saying the club will only move forward with players who want to bring success to the region.
It is understood Fifita informed his Broncos teammates of his decision on Saturday morning just hours after their heavy defeat to the Storm.
The loss of Fifita comes as a huge blow for the Broncos who have been negotiating with the young forward since before he came on the market in November last year.
However, they could not compete with the deal on offer from the Titans.
Broncos chief executive Paul White said the club had numerous meetings with Fifita to try and finalise a deal but would not offer more money than was "responsible for the good of the club and the playing list".