Bryan Fletcher has downplayed comments made by Cronulla Sharks prop Toby Rudolf, saying that the NRL and Andrew Abdo "overreacted" with their handling of the incident.
In a post-match interview with Fletcher on Fox League, Rudolf made comments that he would celebrate the Sharks' win over the Dragons by drinking "1000 beers", and heading out to Northies bar in Cronulla to "try and pull something. Anything will do."
Rudolf was subsequently handed an official warning letter from the NRL for “offensive and derogatory comments”.
After playing a key role in the incident, Fletcher defended the prop’s comments on his show SEN's Drive with Joel & Fletch.
“It was so clearly a joke, you could tell by his body language,” he explained.
“Toby Rudolf knew it was a joke and corrected himself after what he said.
“I did lead him into a question, but that’s because I know what he’s like.
“It’s so hard to get players to act like they want to act.
“Andrew Abdo overreacted, if they had just grabbed him, not made it public and just told him to pull his head in, Toby would’ve."
Fletcher described the repercussions that the NRL’s warning will have on the rest of the league.
“You know what players are going to do now," he added.
“They’re going to give their robotic boring answers, ‘forwards go forward, backs did their job’.
“Players won’t want to do interviews.
“You can’t please all the people all the time.
“It was a joke, I thought it was very very funny, but obviously the NRL and some people didn’t."
NRL reporter David Riccio echoed Fletcher's sentiment, also suggesting NRL executives could have handled the situation better.
Listen to Fletcher's full take below: