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8 hours ago
The New Zealand Warriors' poor rugby league season finished on a sour note with an altercation at an Auckland bar during their Mad Monday function.
The Warriors have closed ranks over the incident as far as who was involved, but confirmed there was a "bit of a wrestle."
Sydney media reported coach Tony Kemp and centre Clinton Toopi were involved, but the Warriors have cast doubt over that report.
"We are certainly not commenting on the specifics of the incident other than to say there was an altercation. We dispute the absolute identities ... we are not going to talk identities," Warriors media manager Richard Becht said yesterday.
He said the parties involved sorted out the problem on the evening. "There were also apologies the next day."
The newspaper said sources had told it the incident was sparked when Kemp objected to comments from Toopi and a confrontation developed, with captain Monty Betham becoming involved.
Kemp denied his alleged role to the League Correspondent. "I had no involvement. It was Mad Monday and they are footballers. Things happen but I wasn't involved."
Becht said the club was taking no disciplinary action.
"It was wiped away as one of those things that happen on Mad Monday and I'm sure it was by no means the worst that happens on Mad Monday either."
Mad Monday is the traditional season wind-up for football teams. Most involve copious amounts of alcohol.
Becht said he wasn't present for the Warriors' function, but had been informed it was a minor incident.
"It's well and truly done with and dusted. It was effectively dealt with on the night and certainly was the next day."
The Warriors finished 15th of 16 teams in this year's National Rugby League competition.