- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Melbourne's Jahrome Hughes says he's disappointed in himself for making derogatory comments about the blue-collar upbringing of some Penrith players, which they used as motivation for last year's NRL preliminary final victory.
Social media footage from the Storm's 2020 grand final celebrations after their six-point win over Penrith was shown to the Panthers players last year, with Hughes reportedly mocking their western Sydney roots.
Ahead of their blockbuster Magic Round clash on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium, the Melbourne halfback apologised for the comments.
He said he had been drinking for a few days after their grand final win and didn't know he was being videoed.
"There was no disrespect to them or anyone out in their area," Hughes said on Wednesday.
"I'm quite disappointed as I'm not that kind of guy and I don't want to be looked at like that."
Hughes said he initially wasn't sure what the Penrith players were referring to when he was targeted during the 2021 preliminary final.
"They said a few things during the game to myself, but I didn't really know the full extent, obviously I can't really remember what happened.
"They made it pretty clear they were disappointed about it and so am I.
"Now I know what it is, I apologise - I didn't mean any disrespect to them or their families or anything."
He was also angry at himself for giving the Panthers additional motivation, which helped spur them to a 10-6 victory before they went on to claim the 2021 premiership.
"I'm obviously disappointed I gave them a bit of motivation because they ended up getting the chocolates," the 27-year-old said.
Hughes said the rivalry between the two competition heavyweights stemmed from the recent success of both side rather than any class divide.
"They've been the best team over the last couple years and we're sort of being up there as well," the Kiwi international said.
"You always look at rivalries, two of the best teams going head to head and having good battles, and we've had a couple of good ones in the last couple years.
"I guess it's shaping up to be a bit of a rivalry."