Brisbane Broncos captain Adam Reynolds has apologised for forgetting to congratulate the Panthers in his post-match speech after his side went down 26-24 in an all-time classic grand final.
The star halfback could be forgiven for the faux pas, as the Panthers became the first ever team to come back from a 16-point deficit to win a grand final, leaving he and his teammates in a state of shock.
Reynolds took to Instagram to express his hurt, but more importantly acknowledge the Panthers side, who achieved the first premiership three-peat of the NRL era.
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“Apologies for my speech. I forgot to congratulate @penrithpanthers. One hell of a team,” Reynolds wrote on his Instagram story.
“Congrats on another premiership and great season.
“This one hurts. Sorry to all Bronx nation. Love you guys, sorry we couldn’t get the job done.”
Broncos star Ezra Mam scored a second half hat-trick that blew the game wide open to put his side ahead 24-8, after trailing 8-0 earlier in the match.
But it was Panthers gun Nathan Cleary who played the decisive hand, snatching the grand final in the dying minutes by throwing the final pass for Moses Leota and Stephen Chrichton’s tries, then scoring the winner himself with three minutes remaining.
“Thank you so much to everyone who turned out. It honestly doesn’t feel real right now, I can’t wait for it to set in,” Cleary said on stage as he accepted the Clive Churchill Medal.
“To the Broncos boys, you’re an absolutely beast team. You’re very young.
“Shout-out to Ezra Mam, as well, you’re a freak.
“Thanks for that game. It was the hardest game I’ve ever played.
“To our boys, nothing but love, we’ve worked so hard for this, and we’re still just getting started.”
As for Reynolds’ speech, he shared his gratitude for the way the NRL is run and thanked the officials, but failed to touch on the Panthers’ feat.
“Firstly I’d like to thank the NRL and Telstra. Thanks for another great season. Without you guys, none of this is possible,” Reynolds said.
“To everyone who made today possible in the background (thankyou). The match officials, particularly Adam Gee, congratulations on your first referee (appointment in a grand final).
“To the Broncos. All the boys. Keep your head up lads. It’s been one hell of a year. I love every single one of yas.
“To all our fans and supporters, both interstate and back home, we’re extremely sorry we couldn’t get the job done tonight, but we’ll be back bigger and stronger next year.”