Bryan Fletcher fires up over Toby Rudolf interview aftermath

Former rugby league star Bryan Fletcher has fired up after Cronulla forward Toby Rudolf was reprimanded by the NRL for an “inappropriate” post-game interview on the weekend.

The Sharks lock was in a lighthearted mood after his team’s 14-point victory over St George, joking on Fox League’s The Matty Johns Show about how he would celebrate.

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Asked by Fletcher what he was planning for Sunday night, Rudolf said: “Probably about 1000 beers. Go to (Cronulla bar) Northies, try and pull something — anything will do.

“No, honestly, it’s all about recovery these days. I’ll be going straight home, straight to the ice bath and staying very, very quiet.”

Rudolf received a formal warning from the NRL for the remarks, with chief executive Andrew Abdo saying he overstepped the mark with his reference about trying to “pull something” and adding “anything will do”.

Speaking on SEN’s Drive with Joel & Fletch, Fletcher accused Abdo and the NRL of overreacting, arguing Rudolf should have been reprimanded in private.

“It was so clearly a joke … you could tell by his body language as well,” Fletcher said on Tuesday.

“It’s so hard to get players after a game to act like they want to act.

“You know what’s going to happen now after this? The players are going to give their robotic, boring answers going forward. That’s not entertaining.

“Toby Rudolf knew it was a joke, and corrected himself after what he said.

“(Andrew Abdo and the NRL) overreacted … if they had just grabbed him, not make it public, and say, ‘Mate, it wasn’t a great look, just pull your head in’, Toby would have. Is it a sign that the NRL want to be seen on the front foot?

“Players won’t want to do interviews.”

Toby Rudolf of the Sharks.Source:Getty Images

Manly Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans echoed Fletcher’s comments, blasting the NRL’s decision to issue Rudolph a warning.

“We want fan interaction, we want engagement in the game, we want people to love our sport. But we don’t want someone to be themselves,” Cherry-Evans said.

“That’s who he is, whether you like it or not, and he was encouraged to be himself with the questions that were asked … so what is a player meant to do?

“Good on him for speaking his mind and being himself. It’s a shame that there’s been repercussions for something that I think for a lot of people would be only looked at as just very light-hearted humour.”

Rudolf ran for 136m from 13 hit-ups and made 31 tackles during Sunday’s win over the Dragons in Kogarah.

Cronulla will next face the Canberra Raiders at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday evening.

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