- Braith Anasta’s ‘joke’ annoyed many footy fans
- Taunted Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson
- Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga snared Dally M Medal
Rugby league identity Braith Anasta got under the skin of many footy fans following his ‘joke’ on stage at the Dally M Medal awards night in Sydney on Wednesday.
With New Zealand Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson firming to win the top gong, Anasta taunted the veteran playmaker on stage.
The co-host of NRL360 told the audience ‘Shaun Johnson – no votes’ – when many felt the 33-year-old should have polled strongly in round 25.
It came after Johnson guided the Warriors to a 29-22 win over the Sea Eagles in Auckland, in a performance which included three line break assists, two try assists and a match sealing field goal.
The Kiwi halfback reacted graciously, waving at the former Bulldogs, Roosters and Tigers star and saying, ‘Thanks, mate.’
Anasta then took to Instagram to defend himself on Thursday, declaring he was merely ‘reading a script’ before adding that he ‘isn’t an idiot, and it wasn’t the time or place to tell a shit joke.’
Ex-NRL star Braith Anasta got under the skin of many footy fans with his ‘joke’ on stage at the Dally M Medal awards night in Sydney on Wednesday
With New Zealand Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson firming to win the top gong, Anasta taunted the veteran playmaker on stage
Respective Knights fullbacks Kalyn Ponga and Tamika Upton took home the Dally M Medals as the best and fairest players in the NRL and NRLW
Footy fans didn’t long for supporters to roast Anasta online.
‘Braith knew the result and taunted him. The respective characters of both men on display here,’ one fan posted on social media.
‘I thought Braith was trying to be funny and it went down like a lead balloon. I also found it to be in bad taste,’ said another.
‘Pr**k move but expect nothing less from him,’ fumed a third, with a fourth labelling Anasta a ‘king-sized tosser’.
Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga (56 votes) pipped Johnson by a solitary vote to win the Dally M Medal, with 2022 winner Nicho Hynes finishing third.
It followed a remarkable late-season run from Ponga, who successfully overcame a career-threatening battle with concussion to snare the coveted individual prize.
Ponga was also an instrumental figure when the Knights went on a nine-game winning run to ensure they played semi-final football.
In other awards, Andrew Webster was crowned Coach of the Year after guiding the Warriors to the top four in his first season in charge and Panthers flyer Sunia Turuva was named Rookie of the Year.
Tamika Upton was the Women’s Dally M Medallist after an impressive NRLW campaign with the Knights at fullback.