Manly star Marty Taupau has delivered one of the most rugby league moments ever seen on a football field.
In an incident that was largely overlooked following the Sea Eagles’ brawl with South Sydney at Brookvale Oval in Round 2, Taupau was seen making a classy gesture of reprimanding his own teammate for an act of disrespect towards NRL great Benji Marshall.
The only problem was Taupau had been hoodwinked and didn’t know the background between Marshall and the Manly player that shoved his head down on the final siren.
Marshall helped execute the final tackle of the game in the Rabbitohs’ 26-12 victory before Moses Suli came in from nearby and twisted Marshall’s noggin in the fashion so often seen in the game these days when opposition players like to rub it in to their rivals when they’ve just coughed up the ball or given away a penalty.
Taupau took offence on Marshall’s behalf and hooked Suli by the collar and wrapping his arm around the teammate while appearing to give a lecture about respecting your elders.
The only problem was Suli and Marshall are close friends and there was no malice intended in the cheeky head pat.
Marshall revealed Taupau’s mistake on Fox League’s NRL 360 on Tuesday night.
“It was a joke. Me and Moses are mates,” Marshall said.
“Marty didn’t know that. But me and Moses are pretty tight. I don’t mind that.
“Good on him (Taupau). It’s great.”
Taupau’s classy defence of Marshall came just seconds after tempers boiled over between the two sides following a surprise spat between Manly’s Kieran Foran and the Rabbitohs’ Dane Gagai. Players began to run in from everywhere towards the heated melee, but when the dust settled only Jaydn Su’A was sent to the sin bin but the Rabbitohs also got the penalty.
Marshall, meanwhile, also spoke with brutal honesty about the Wests Tigers’ disastrous start to the year after being forced to leave the club last year as an icon of the club.
Marshall was brutally honest as he batted away the question.
He was asked on NRL 360 about how he feels watching his old club struggle so early in the season.
“My interest in what they were stopped about in October when they let me go,” he said.
“I was focused on what I was going to do next. I don’t take too much interest into what they’re doing, it doesn’t affect me like it used to when I was there.
“I’m fully invested in Souths. What they’re doing at the moment doesn’t bother me. When I was there it did, but not now.”