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Storm star says sorry after being named

Before last year’s preliminary final clash between the two clubs, Panthers assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo showed his players a video posted on social media of some Melbourne stars mocking their rivals’ western Sydney routes after beating them in the grand final.Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >Penrith won that prelim 10-6 before going on to beat Souths in the grand final. The Panthers and Storm will face off for the first time since last year’s finals series at Magic Round in Brisbane this Saturday night, in the marquee match-up of the weekend.Speaking about the video of Melbourne’s 2020 premiership celebrations, Panthers centre Stephen Crichton said it played a part in inspiring his teammates to stand their ground in 2021.“There was a short video,” Crichton told the Sydney Morning Herald this week. “They were doing the (hand) signals and doing the dance.“‘Ciro’ (Ciraldo) said, ‘You need to protect where you come from’.“We play hard because not many people from Mt Druitt get into this position like us. When you see videos like that, they can’t stick up for themselves, but those of us on the field can. We played for the area and our families and it was good we could come away with the win.“It was mainly Jahrome Hughes, he was on the drink, like most of the first-grade boys after you win a grand final. We did the exact same thing when we won a grand final. But it was a bit of motivation for us heading into that prelim.”Penrith winger Brian To’o told The Herald after seeing the social media footage “there were no words to explain” and “we took it on the chin” before getting revenge on the scoreboard.Hughes said on Wednesday he regretted his actions.“I didn’t mean any disrespect by it and I didn’t know I was being videoed and I had a few drinks under my belt, probably for the last couple of days,” he said.“There was no disrespect to them or anyone in their area.“I’m quite disappointed because I’m not that kind of guy either and I don’t want to be looked at like that either, so there was no disrespect on my behalf.“I can’t really remember what happened but I think they came out after and said they used a bit of a video (for motivation), but I didn’t mean anything by it and that’s not me and the type of person I am.“Obviously I’m disappointed it gave them a bit of motivation because it gave them the chocolates.”The Storm will be without one of their big guns for Saturday’s blockbuster, losing Ryan Papenhuyzen to a hamstring tear and PCL knee injury that will keep him sidelined for up to six weeks.And centre Reimis Smith will need surgery and be sidelined for up to three months after scans revealed he sustained a ruptured pectoral muscle against St George Illawarra last Sunday.It not only leaves a huge hole in Storm’s backline ahead of the Penrith showdown but is also a blow to NSW Origin coach Brad Fittler, who had singled out Papenhuyzen as a utility option on the Blues’ bench for Origin I next month.Papenhuyzen scored two tries against the Dragons before leaving the field early in the second half, injuring his hamstring while scoring his second.With NCA NewsWire

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