After having his heart ripped out of his chest, Adam Reynolds can be forgiven for overlooking one important detail in his post-match speech — but not everybody sees it that way.
Reynolds has been slammed by fans on social media after he snubbed the Panthers in his list of shout-outs.
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The star halfback was visibly crestfallen when interviewed on the field after the match and was no better when called on to speak on behalf of his team before the Panthers’ premiership rings ceremony.
In a strange series of events, referee Adam Gee was one of the first people Reynolds thanked.
“To match officials, particularly to Adam Gee, congratulations on your first referee (Grand Final),” he said.
He finished his speech by addressing Broncos fans: “I’m extremely sorry we couldn’t get the job done tonight. But we’ll be back bigger and better next year”.
Reynolds had just watched his team get rolled over in 20 minutes of madness with the Panthers becoming the first team to ever comeback from 16 points down in a Grand Final.
When interviewed on the field, the 33-year-old said: “I’m extremely proud but geez we let that one slip. Can’t fault the effort of the team but lapses in concentration, it’s a hard one to take.
“Credit to Penrith, they were fantastic, obviously led by Nathan Cleary.
“I’ve got no words, I can’t sum that one up.”
But it hasn’t stopped some fans from being outraged by Reynolds’ oversight.
“I thought what I witnessed yesterday with some Pies totally ignoring the Auskickers during the presentation couldn’t be topped. But I’ve just witnessed it! Exceptionally poor sportsmanship by Adam Reynolds not to congratulate the Panthers on winning,” one fan posted on Twitter.
Another fan wrote: “Low quality Adam Reynolds. At least acknowledge the opposition.”
One posted on Twitter: “Bit bitter from Adam Reynolds not to mention the Panthers in that speech, Cleary mentioned the broncos and Ezra Mam.
Another fan posted: “Adam Reynolds not congratulating the #Panthers on their win is down right pathetic”.
Another fan wrote: “Adam Reynolds didn’t mention the Panthers once. Bad blood for next year already”.
Reynolds appeared to be in distress in the first half when he fell in an awkward tumble that resulted in him doing the splits.
It appeared he had suffered a groin muscle injury — but was able to play out the game.
It was another case of Grand Final heartbreak for Reynolds, who lost the 2021 Gand Final to the Panthers while playing for South Sydney.
His opposite No. 7 — Nathan Cleary, put on one of the greatest Grand Final performances of all time, scoring the match winning try with two minutes to play.
Cleary was all class when addressing the Broncos as he accepted the Clive Churchill Medal as the best player on the field.
“To the Broncos boys, (you are) an absolute beast team,” he said.
“You’re very young. Shout-out to Ezra Mam as well, you’re a freak.
“Thanks for that game. It’s the hardest game I’ve ever played.”