Canberra Raiders forward Corey Horsburgh has been forced to apologise after he was seen blowing a bubble while chewing gum during an Anzac Day ceremony.
The Last Post was played before all NRL games over the weekend, including at Canberra's clash with the Panthers at BlueBet Stadium on Sunday.
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TV viewers were left in disbelief when Horsburgh was spotted blowing a bubble with his gum during the Last Post in Penrith.
Fans took to social media to slam the 24-year-old forward, with many labelling his actions "disrespectful".
On Tuesday morning, Horsburgh addressed the controversy and apologised.
“Just wanted to post a message to say I’m sorry if I offended anyone on the weekend during the ANZAC day ceremony before our game against the Panthers,” he wrote on Instagram.
“It was an honest mistake and in no way did I mean to cause offence to anyone.
“I always chew gum before a game and completely forgot it was still in my mouth before I ran out.
“I have the deepest respect for the ANZAC day tradition and it was an honour to be involved in the game on Sunday.”
One Panthers fan wrote on Twitter: "So Canberra fans are upset about us doing the Viking Clap but silent on the actual disrespect from Corey Horsburgh blowing a bubble gum bubble during the Anzac ceremony."
Another wrote: "The NRL should sit him for a week for bringing the game into disrepute."
The @NRL & @RaidersCanberra must suspend Corey Horsburgh for at least a week.
If the club has any decency, they'd act now.
The club should also ask Ricky Stuart why he didn't prepare his players for the reverence expected on ANZAC day. Atrocious. #NRL #NRLPanthersRaiders
— Ben Parks (@ItsBenParks) April 26, 2022
Simply disgusting behaviour by Corey Horsburgh here. I demand he gets sacked by Canberra and forced to spend the rest of his career on a team like the Brisbane Broncos. pic.twitter.com/1IROsUU8vI
— Rhys 🇦🇺🇺🇦❗️ (@SulloReport) April 25, 2022
— Sandy Lanceley (@sandylanceley) April 25, 2022
Controversy as Panthers fans do Canberra's 'Viking Clap'
It wasn't the only controversy to come out of Sunday's game, with Canberra reportedly seething over 'arrogant' Panthers fans who stole their famous 'Viking Clap'.
With the Panthers leading 24-6 in the second half, fans mocked the Raiders by doing their own Viking Clap - a pre-game move Canberra fans are known for.
After Stephen Crichton was awarded his third try - a penalty try after interference from Raiders centre Matt Timoko - the 20,000-plus fans began a mock Viking Clap to rub a little more salt into the wounds.
They did it again 10 minutes from full-time when the result was inevitable.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart bristled at questions from a reporter about it after the game.
“Ricky one of the big moments in the second half a couple of times with the Viking Clap, what where your thoughts about that?” the journalist asked.
Stuart replied: “I have got not thoughts mate. Is that really a big focus point?”
Raiders captain Jack Wighton echoed his coach's sentiment before Stuart interjected.
“Well if that is all we have got to talk about. F*** me dead," he said, imitating to leave the press conference.
Crichton underpinned Penrith's seventh-straight win of 2022 with a hat-trick as the Panthers scored a 36-6 victory.
The Raiders hung in relentlessly for a large chunk of the game, but caved during the final 18 minutes.
"It was very hard," Stuart said.
"I don't think we had a play-the-ball in their half in the second half. We were forever defending, so it wouldn't have only been Penrith that beat us by that amount - other teams would have to."
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