Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has responded to Apisai Koroisau’s dig that left fans fuming as another jab from a second high-profile recruit has been revealed.
Koroisau’s fake laugh at the Panthers fan day on Monday was labelled “tasteless” by rugby league legend Braith Anasta, and Hagipantelis revealed the comments “have not escaped our attention”.
“Just to go out on a high like that, it’s pretty incredible, and I’ll probably do the same thing at the Tigers,” Koroisau said before laughing.
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While Koroisau’s dig was “dealt with privately” the Tigers will still welcome to gun dummy-half with open arms in 2023.
“As I understand and I don’t know him too well, but Api is a thoroughly decent fella and presents as such,” Hagipantelis said on SEN.
“I’m sure if he had his time again he might rethink those comments. They were in the spur of the moment and emotions play a large part and perhaps some alcohol as well.
“We’re not going to put a lot of stock into it and we’re very keen on welcoming him to the club as soon as his World Cup commitments are complete.”
Meanwhile, Eels enforcer Isaiah Papali’i’s also poked fun at his new club on the Dally M Awards night.
Papali’i was reportedly considering backflipping on his three-year deal with the merger club and was asked about the matter on the red carpet.
“Blink twice if you are going to the Tigers next year,” the interviewer said.
Papali’i proceeded to open his eyes as wide as possible holding his hands up, sparking laughter from the interviewers.
Eels coach Brad Arthur confirmed his gun backrower would be honouring his deal on Saturday — however, Tigers fans won’t forget the dig from another high-profile recruit.
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Hagipantelis labelled the Papali’i contract saga a “storm in a teacup”.
“We’ve refrained from commenting on it because there was no need to,” Hagipantelis said.
“We are contractually bound to Isaiah, he is contractually bound to the Wests Tigers and there’s never been any suggestion from either side that they were not going to fulfil their contractual obligations.
“We’ve received assurances that Isaiah will be joining the club as soon as his World Cup obligations are complete as well.
“We gave that story no oxygen whatsoever as well because there was nothing in it.”