6 infamous rugby league tunnel bust-ups after Sam Burgess incident: Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors..

Aaron Bower

There was drama off the field as well as on it on Friday night, with Warrington Wolves head coach Sam Burgess and Hull director of rugby Richie Myler involved in a tunnel altercation.

Burgess addressed the situation post-match with the media, admitting he was frustrated about the situation that led to the Wire losing an interchange in their victory over the Black and Whites due to confusion over the submission of their 21-man squad.

It’s far from the only time individuals have come to blows in a rugby league tunnel, either. Here’s six of the most memorable.

Sam Burgess and Richie Myler

Starting with Friday night, with Burgess and Myler coming into contact in the tunnel at the Halliwell Jones Stadium prior to the Wire’s victory over Hull.

Burgess, clearly angered by the situation that led to the Wire losing an interchange pre-match, could not hide his frustration post-match.

“It is a very small corridor,” Burgess said of the incident in his post-match press conference. “He made some smart comment as I was walking past. He really doesn’t need to do that. I get he is new in the job – so am I. But the game is done, it’s done now. Let’s move on.”

Harry Newman and Tom Holroyd

Last year, in the aftermath of a disappointing defeat to Salford Red Devils, it emerged that Leeds team-mates Harry Newman and Tom Holroyd had to be separated in the tunnel.

It was a situation that was confirmed by Rohan Smith after the match, after the pair’s frustrations spilled over. “These things happen from time to time,” Smith said.

“It’s not something that we condone or want to happen but players get frustrated and disappointed.”

RELATED: Every word Warrington Wolves coach Sam Burgess said on interchange debacle following Hull FC clash

The 2018 Super League Grand Final

Even the Old Trafford tunnel has seen a major skirmish in rugby league land, too. At half-time in the 2018 Grand Final between Wigan and Warrington, it was alleged the Wire’s Bryson Goodwin shoved Morgan Escare in the tunnel.

That led to Wigan prop Romain Navarrete intervening – and it was such a severe incident, it was even included in the match commissioner’s report after the game.

A statement said: “Warnings have been issued to Wigan and Warrington under B1:38 which states: Each club shall ensure that none of its players or club officials engage in a brawl.

“A brawl is defined as a total of two or more players or club officials from a team being involved in an incident of fighting or aggressive physical contact on the pitch and surrounding areas before, during or after a match.”

Jack Hetherington and Reed Mahoney

Over in Australia, it appears Jack Hetherington is the NRL’s chief tunnel bust-up instigator – with two incidents involving him in a handful of years!

One of those came as recently as last month. Hetherington confronted Canterbury’s Reed Mahoney in the tunnel during Newcastle’s NRL game against the Bulldogs, after the pair had an altercation on the field.

Hetherington had to be dragged away by staff and was banned for one week following the incident. Mahoney, meanwhile, was fined $1,000 for contrary conduct which occurred on the field.

David Fifita and Jack Hetherington

Hetherington was involved in another incident earlier in his career in 2018. Then a Penrith player, Hetherington clashed with Cronulla forward Andrew Fifita as the teams headed down the tunnel for half-time during their NRL fixture.

The Sharks forward was seen to push the Panthers player when they went in for the break, with security reportedly having to separate the pair.

Keighley Cougars and Hunslet

Back in England, there were reportedly ugly scenes at half-time during Keighley’s League One clash with Hunslet back in 2019.

A report from the game suggested that Keighley’s Louis Sheriff was on the end of a ‘superman punch’ at half-time, with one of Hunslet’s players seeming channelling their inner WWE wrestler!

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